Crude oil prices fell 12 per cent yesterday, the largest percentage drop in seven years, after a U.S. inventory report showed a big glut in the market.

But the perception there will be a rebound in demand during the second half of the year has some traders playing a high-stakes game — chartering supertankers to purchase and store huge volumes of inexpensive oil that can be sold on the futures market at a healthy profit.
A barrel of crude plun­ged $5.95 US to $42.63 in New York, backtracking on a week of gains.

The decline was blamed largely on a U.S. report that showed commercial crude inventories last week increased by 6.68 million barrels. That’s more than four times higher than the consensus expectations of analysts.

Analysts say the opportunity to buy oil at less than $43 and sell it in the futures market for 60 per cent more for delivery a year from now is too profitable to resist.

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