Oil fell for a third day on Tuesday, as a rout in global equities triggered losses across bonds, cryptocurrencies and commodities, although the crude price is in positive territory so far this year.
Even with Wall Street stocks posting their largest one-day fall since late 2011 on Monday and measures of volatility spiking to multi-year highs, reflecting heightened investor nervousness, oil has not suffered to the same extent.
Since the S&P 500 hit a record high on Jan. 26, the index has lost 8 percent. Oil, in contrast, has lost 4.5 percent, while cryptocurrency bitcoin has lost half its value.
A factor that could insulate oil to some extent against a bigger rout is the structure of the forward curve, where the prompt futures contract is trading well above those for delivery further in the future.
"We know that speculative positions both in terms of contracts and in allocated dollars are at an all-time high. Thus a real pain-trade has not yet hit the oil market," SEB head of commodity strategy Bjarne Schieldrop said.
"Longs have not yet started to flock to the exit door. If that happens, it will make the buying opportunity even better for the oil consumers who buy oil on the forward curve."