Oil prices fell on Thursday for the third straight trading session, dragged down by economic concerns and rising U.S. petroleum inventories.
Front-month U.S. crude for June delivery settled down $1.25 to $74.40 a barrel, having earlier slid to $73.62, the lowest since February 12. U.S. crude prices have fallen in seven of the last eight sessions.
June's discount to July U.S. crude, widened in early trading due to rising inventories at the delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange's oil futures contract in Cushing, Oklahoma.
The spread blew out to nearly $5 -- the highest level since February 2009 -- in early trading, before narrowing later as short-covering lifted the front month. At settlement, the spread was $4.59 a barrel, up from $4.50 on Wednesday. (more)