Crude April Trading Range Tightest Since 1995: Chart of the Day

Oil’s April trading range is the tightest for any month in 17 years as concern eased that supplies would be disrupted and reports showed slower U.S. economic growth.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows the percentage difference between the monthly high and low beginning with April 1983. This month’s price has ranged from $100.68 to $105.49 a barrel, a difference of 4.8 percent. That’s the smallest since February 1995, when the price ranged from $18.13 to $18.98.

“The oil market has found equilibrium right now,” said Tom Bentz, a director with BNP Paribas Prime Brokerage Inc. in New York. “There will have to be some more significant news to get us to move out of the recent range.”

Crude rose to $110.55 a barrel on March 1 as Western nations prepared sanctions against Iran, then slipped as tension eased. U.S. gross domestic product growth slowed to a 2.2 percent rate in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department.

“There have been some real negative economic headlines, but they weren’t sufficient to move the market lower,” Bentz said.

The record high difference is 81.9 percent, set in January 1991 when the Persian Gulf War began. The price ranged from $18 to $32.75 that month. The difference exceeded 60 percent in October 2008 and December 2008 as oil fell to $32.40 a barrel in December from the all-time high of $147.27 in July.

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