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Oil Spread Shows Saudi Shale Strategy Working: Chart of the Day

International crude oil prices are close to undercutting the main U.S. grade for the first time in 18 months, a signal to Societe Generale SA that Saudi Arabia’s strategy of curbing growth in shale production is working.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil grade traded in New York, cost $1.28 a barrel less than Brent, the international benchmark, at 9:30 a.m. in London today. A year ago, the American price was $15.49 lower, fortifying the nation’s refineries with cheaper feedstocks and hastening a slump for European processors.