Nymex crude futures fell 9.2% this week, wiping out all of the year's previous gains. The recent declines could mean crude futures have found a new trading range between $80 and $90 a barrel, after rising as high as almost $115 a barrel earlier this year, analysts said.
"This week was the market's moment of clarity," said Peter Beutel, head of the oil trading advisory firm Cameron Hanover. "It suddenly saw itself staring at an economic recovery that lost its wind behind its sails."
Separately, a fire at a refinery owned by Valero Corp. (VLO) lent support to gasoline futures. The company said the fire at its 195,000-barrel-a-day facility in Memphis, Tenn., forced the shutdown of two of its crude distillation units.
Front-month September reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, settled up 6.80 cents, or 2.5%, to $2.8052 a gallon.
September heating oil settled up 4.78 cents, or 1.7$, to $2.9417 a gallon.