Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower On Demand Worries

Crude oil futures settled sharply lower on Wednesday amid concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to slowing global growth following sharp interest rate hikes by central banks.

The Biden administration's move to push for fuel cost cuts also weighed on oil prices. To curtail rising gas prices, Biden is expected to call for temporarily suspending the 18.4-cents a gallon federal tax on gasoline.

President Joe Biden called on Congress Wednesday to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax, aiming to quell the rapid surge in prices at the pump. The suspension is likely to provide some immediate relief, but a section of analysts feel the move could also keep demand elevated.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $3.33 or about 3% at $106.19 a barrel, the lowest settlement in six weeks.

Brent crude futures were down $3.25 or 2.82% at $111.40 a barrel a little while ago.

Weekly U.S. petroleum inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute is due later in the day, a day later than usual due to Monday's holiday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly crude inventory data Thursday morning.

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