ECB Leaves Policy Unchanged, Crude Oil Below $50

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The crude oil is trading below $50 a barrel for the first time since December 2016 at 49.49, -1.57%, touching an intraday low of $48.80. Prices have slid 8pc in three days and have broken through key levels of technical support, dousing enthusiasm for commodities across the board.

Increasing efficiency in US shale oil production has made it competitively priced in comparison to West African and Asian sweet crude oil, and USA exports are redrawing the world's energy map, CME Group reported Friday.

The sharp decline was fuelled by a much higher-than-expected oil inventory report released on Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Government data in the US showed a surprising +8.21 million barrels to 528.4 million barrels, the highest in weekly data going back to 1982.

The market woke up to the possibility that USA shale production could undermine OPECs efforts. That was an increase of 8.2 million barrels from a week earlier.

Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note to clients they still thought Brent crude would end this year higher, at around $62.50, and reach $75 by end-2020.

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