Oil fell below $50 a barrel for the first time in over a year

An illustration depicting falling oil prices.

US crude oil fell below $50 a barrel Thursday for the first time in more than a year.

Oil’s recent slide has shaved more than a third off its price. Crude fell more than 1% Thursday to as low as $49.41 a barrel. The last time oil closed below $50 was in October 4, 2017. By mid morning the price had climbed back to above $51.

Concerns about oversupply have sent oil prices into a virtual freefall: Crude hit a four-year high above $76 a barrel less than two months ago.

Traders looking for a rebound in the price of oil were hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman might reach an agreement about production cuts when they meet at the G20 meeting this weekend. But Putin said Thursday the current depressed price of oil suits him just fine, dashing hopes of further cuts in production.

Investors are worried that US production is increasing as economic activity overseas slows. As the price of oil rose earlier this year, US shale oil production┬ásurged. The United States passed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest oil producer.

US gasoline prices have also started to fall. A gallon of gas dropping 30 cents on average over the past month, according to AAA. That’s an 11% drop.

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