World oil prices plunged Friday, mirroring the sentiment on stock markets, as the dollar strengthened in reaction to Britain voting to bolt from the European Union. At one point, Brent North Sea crude tumbled around 6.0 percent to $47.54 a barrel. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate slumped some 7.0 percent to $46.70 a barrel. Bernard Aw, an analyst with IG Markets in Singapore, said the stronger dollar, which surged to a three-decade high against the pound, made dollar-denominated crude more expensive for holders of other units.
The explanation was echoed by PVM Brokers, which told clients in a research note that "oil prices have been sent reeling by a surging dollar... following Britain's decision to end its 40-year membership with the European Union." "Away from the Brexit-induced slump, Russia has trimmed planned oil exports," PVM added.
Around 11:30 a.m. GMT, Brent stood at $48.52 a barrel, down $2.39. WTI retreated $2.43 to $47.68 compared with Thursday's close. Crude futures came under pressure this week also from a smaller-than-expected fall in US crude inventories, adding to concerns about weak demand in the world's biggest economy and abundant global supplies.