Publication Date

Spring 4-2023


School of Business


Business: Economics; Business: Finance


Oil, Finance, Markets


Twenty-twenty represented one of the most volatile periods of history for the oil market. This volatility was reflected in market prices, with oil futures going negative in April 2020 and ending the year closer to pre-pandemic levels. As the year progressed, geopolitical tensions, a global pandemic, price wars, hurricanes, and vaccine innovation all contributed to the fluctuations in global demand and supply for oil. The year opened in January with oil prices rising following U.S. airstrikes targeting an Iranian high-ranking military official. February and March saw the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which ushered in a dramatic demand shock unprecedent in market history. April’s negative futures prices were the result of an oversupplied market meeting this historic demand deficit. May and June saw the continuation of the Covid-19 demand trend. However, July and August were met with a significant resurgence in Covid-19 in many parts of the world and hurricanes that battered U.S. oil production. September and October saw both economic and political development, particularly in the United States, dampen projections for future demand. Finally, the last two months of the year saw renewed hope that demand challenges would eventually be solved with the emergency authorization of Covid-19 vaccines.