Oil prices hit a nearly four-year high at the start of October 2018, as demand rose and as U.S. sanctions resulted in declining Iranian crude exports.
However, the last two weeks have seen the oil market undergoing an incredible reversal in price movement, despite the backdrop of looming U.S. sanctions on Iran, OPEC's third-largest crude producer, and rising tensions between Washington and Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter.
U.S. crude prices declined by ~11% from peak to trough while Brent Crude was down more than 9%. U.S. crude futures fell to a nearly five-week low of $68.47 in the last week, plunging more than $8 a barrel from this month's four-year high of $76.90.
Meanwhile, Brent crude hovered around $78.69 a barrel in the last week, down $8 or 9.3%, from its four-year high at $86.74 in the first week of October.
Rising U.S. crude stockpiles by ~ 22.3 million barrels -- the biggest increase over a four-week period since 2015 -- forecasts of a slower-than-expected commodity and oil demand growth owing to rising oil prices, and the recent sell-off in stock markets as investors dumped risky assets, are all considered to be the main factors driving the declines.