(New York) Oil prices fell again on Friday and closed at their lowest level in almost 15 months, undermined by the lingering banking crisis which raised fears of a slowdown in credit and the economy.

The price of a barrel of Brent North Sea oil for delivery in May fell 2.31%, to end at 72.97 dollars.

The American West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for delivery in April, conceded 2.35% to 66.74 dollars.

In session, the two market reference varieties had fallen to levels not seen since December 2021.

“Courses are weighed down by the banking turbulence, which is not calming down, and fears that the monetary tightening of the Fed (American central bank) will derail the economy” American, indicated, in a note, Edward Moya, Oanda analyst.

“And if the economy slows down, demand will fall,” said Mark Waggoner of Excel Futures.

Since the start of the shock that hit US banks a week ago, black gold, often considered a leading indicator of the economy, has been one of the most affected assets.

WTI contracted nearly 13% in one week.

“This dropout is excessive and driven by speculative interests, for the most part,” analysts at Commerzank said.

Officials from member countries of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), quoted by several media, suggested that the cartel would not act in the short term to try to stem the slide in prices.

While it had pledged to buy back crude on the market if WTI fell below $67 a barrel, which is the case right now, the US government, too, seems to be stalling.

“We should take a breath and wait,” pleaded, on Bloomberg TV, Amos Hochstein, adviser to US President Joe Biden on energy issues.

For Mark Waggoner, however, prices are close to bottom. “Demand will rebound” with the arrival of spring, he notes. Refineries, many of which were in the maintenance phase, “are going to pick up again and we’re going to see the crude reserves go down.”