Myra P. Saefong / MarketWatch
Oil’s four-week roller coaster ride ended with a loss for April, and May looks unlikely to offer a smoother journey.
West Texas Intermediate crude started the month strong, with a five-session climb lifting prices to a peak at about $53.40 in by mid April. But a six-day losing streak sent crude back under $49 a barrel Thursday to its lowest close since late March.
Despite the herky-jerky moves, the peak-to-trough represented a range of less than $5 a barrel. WTI settled Friday with a loss of about 2.5%. Brent crude, the global benchmark, lost about 3.4%.
“Oil traded in a very narrow range over April as it has for the past four months, so the period has been characterized by low volatility due to even flow of both bullish and bearish developments,” Tamar Essner, director of energy and utilities at Nasdaq Advisory Services, told MarketWatch.
Prices found support following U.S. airstrikes in Syria and Yemen. That raised “the geopolitical risk premium” in the Middle East, which is responsible for more than 30% of the world’s petroleum needs, Essner said.