Now you can ditch your addiction to oil after plunge in prices

After crude oil prices rocketed more than 70% this year, they are now tumbling – after a brutal two months – thanks to China’s price war and Joe Biden’s dad

For the better part of a year, oil prices have soared to new highs. But from yesterday, you may finally be able to put a few cold ones down for good – thanks to China and Joe Biden’s dad.

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A dramatic 20% fall in prices was reported by the New York Mercantile Exchange after it was forced to stop dealing in some derivatives contracts – a move, the Nymex said, that could be a first.

Analysts and traders said the reason was the entry of an American Opec member, which has shocked investors by launching its own “mini-OPEC” output cut programme to boost prices.

The news comes after two rough months, with West Texas Intermediate falling from a high of $66 a barrel in January to $49 in mid-May – the lowest level since November 2014.

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China’s Opec equivalent, the National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), this week warned that it would only sign contracts to buy oil if they were no more expensive than the spot price.

“If the money model is not a good system, we don’t need to participate,” CNPC’s chairman, Zhou Yongkang, said on Wednesday.

The dramatic decline, which saw crude price drop below the 50-day moving average, was blamed by some traders on the Chinese government’s involvement in a spot price war.

Oil futures in London are down almost 10% since 26 May, and most of the trading volumes are on one contract with a contract length of 42 days.

Oil prices have taken a dive, now on the low and threatening to sink to 12-year lows. Energy stocks, as a result, are diving in Europe, the US and Canada.

WTI crude traded at $51.51 a barrel on Thursday, and a further fall of 30% could also force OPEC to slash output.

The price plunge comes after talks between Opec ministers in Vienna earlier this month to discuss an extension of oil output cuts.

The cartel agreed to a cut of 1.2m barrels a day in production as part of a deal signed in November, with three months of the programme set to expire at the end of May.

“Oil has followed up on all the rather strong momentum that has supported the commodity over the course of 2017,” said analysts at Commerzbank.

“As a result, we should probably take these developments for what they are: oil prices have recently drifted in a predictable corridor between $50 and $60 per barrel, which is now at the high-end of this range.”

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