By Bradley Keoun
On Monday, the benchmark U.S. oil futures contract for May delivery tumbled to an unprecedented negative price, largely because storage tanks are full of a product few can use. How that surprised experienced oil traders might seem a mystery, since energy companies and Texas state officials had been warning for weeks that storage capacity was running out.
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Commentators quickly pointed out the price anomaly was limited to the May contract; the futures contract for June delivery, after all, was still trading above $20 a barrel – a better reflection of oil’s true price. “Technical factors explain some of the decline,” the New York Times wrote. “Oil watchers don’t consider it the most accurate reflection of price action,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.