2016 Review: Oil prices hit 13-year low in January 2016, double by end of year

Release date: 2017-01-11

In January 2016, the daily spot price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil reached its lowest point in 13 years of US$26.68 per barrel. In the following months, the price of WTI generally fluctuated between US$40 and US$50 per barrel before ending the year at US$53.75 per barrel – a near doubling of price over the course of the year.

During 2016, crude oil prices often fluctuated in response to releases of new data on drilling, production, and storage. Announcements made by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and geopolitical events around the globe also contributed to oil price volatility.

Source and Description

Source: Energy Information Administration

Description: The above line graph shows the weekly spot price for WTI from January 2002 to December 2016. The price of WTI peaked at US$145.41 per barrel on 3 July 2008 and fell to US$26.68 on 20 January 2016. Oil prices increased to US$53.75 per barrel on 30 December 2016 – doubling the price from the January low.

Despite the price of WTI nearly doubling in 2016, WTI averaged US$42.69 per barrel for the year – approximately US$6 less than the annual average price of WTI in 2015 and the lowest annual average price since 2004. In addition, the 2016 closing price of US$53.75 per barrel is still less than half of what the WTI price was before its steep decline began in 2014.

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