Oil futures briefly topped $50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in more than six months, then eased back as traders weighed the impact of recent declines in global production on the glut of crude supplies. July West Texas Intermediate crude touched a high of $50.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, but eased back a bit to trade at $49.47, down 9 cents, or 0.2%. WTI oil hasn’t settled above $50 since July.
Despite the pullback, the move above $50 was seen as a key moment by many analysts. “With nearby crude oil prices probing the $50 level, the price itself is the leading headline of the day, with plenty of questions regarding what it means,” said Tim Evans, energy futures specialist at Citi Futures and OTC Clearning.