Crude oil futures swung wildly on Monday, rising to a record of almost $140 per barrel and then tumbled to settle at $134.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, they dropped as low as $132.84. In London, August Brent crude futures fell 40 cents to settle at $134.71 on the ICE Futures exchange.
With little in the way of news to explain oil’s turnabout, analysts pointed to Saudi Arabia’s weekend decision to boost production and to Tuesday’s expiration of crude options, or agreements to buy or sell futures at higher or lower prices. Trading is often volatile in the days immediately preceding options expiration.
Top officials in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, told U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon over the weekend that it would boost oil output by 200,000 barrels a day, or by 2 percent, from June to July. In May, the kingdom raised production by 300,000 barrels a day.