Oil prices declined on Thursday, notching a three-day losing streak, as traders focused on recession risks.
The West Texas Intermediate for April delivery dropped 94 cents, or 1.23 percent, to settle at 75.72 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for May delivery lost 1.07 dollars, or 1.29 percent, to close at 81.59 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
The above market reactions came after data showed U.S. initial jobless claims came in higher than expected for the week ending March 4.
“The report served as a bearish catalyst,” as it highlighted the negative impact of higher interest rates, Vladimir Zernov, analyst with market information supplier FX Empire, said on Thursday.
“Oil markets are moving lower as traders worry that Fed’s aggressive policy will put too much pressure on the economy,” he said.
In a testimony to the U.S. Congress earlier this week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell raised the potential for more aggressive interest rate hikes.
Powell said that “the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated,” and that the Fed would be prepared to increase rates at a faster pace if warranted by the “totality” of the data.