Oil pipes run into the ground at a storage terminal in Oklahoma, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Brent Retreats After Hitting $75 for First Time Since October

(Bloomberg) -- Brent crude couldn’t hold a rally past $75 a barrel, sliding amid a flurry of technical selling late in the session.

Futures in London and New York both declined after the global benchmark breached the key level for the first time since October earlier in the session. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate led the slide after rising above $66 a barrel. Earlier, prices had surged as the U.S. decision to tighten Iran sanctions and contamination in Russian shipments fueled supply fears.

“It was technical in nature,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York hedge fund focused on energy. “Everyone was watching the $65-$70 area and once we broke that support, it seemed to generate some follow-through selling. There was a lot of length that came into this market here and we couldn’t hold $66.”

Brent Retreats After Hitting $75 for First Time Since October

Brent is still set for a fifth straight week of gains, following the U.S. announcement earlier in the week that it won’t renew waivers for countries to import Iranian crude once they expire in May. Still, questions are piling up over the ultimate impact, with Iran threatening retaliation, China declaring its right to purchase and Saudi Arabia taking a cautious approach on raising its own output.

Brent for June settlement fell 22 cents to end the session at $74.35 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark was at a premium of $9.14 to WTI.

WTI for June delivery slid 68 cents to settle at $65.21 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after climbing as high as $66.28 during the session.

Russian oil flows to parts of Europe have been halted, limiting supplies from one of the continent’s biggest sources of crude. Poland, which receives oil through a northern section of the giant Druzhba pipeline, stopped importing, saying shipments had become contaminated by organic chlorides.

Other oil-market news:
  • Gasoline futures added 0.2 percent to settle at $2.1321 a gallon.
  • The U.S. said it won’t close the door to “incidental transactions” of Iranian oil after the May 2 expiry of its waivers.
  • Glencore Plc. said it’s under investigation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission for possible corrupt practices, the latest legal headache for the world’s biggest commodity trader.
  • OPEC member Iraq echoed Saudi Arabia’s oil-output stance on Thursday, saying it won’t boost production beyond its OPEC+ limit. 

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