NEW YORK - U.S. energy producers are holding off making big cuts to their budgets and drilling plans because they are not yet convinced that four-year-low prices are here to stay, bankers at regional Fifth-Thirds Bank said on Friday.

The near 30 percent tumble in oil prices since June, which accelerated abruptly over the past six weeks, is similar in scale and price to slumps in mid-2011 and mid-2012. But the market rebounded quickly from those declines, and many drillers are wondering if a similar recovery is around the corner.

“The price change that's occurred so quickly has everyone trying to identify what exactly is the future,” Bob Tull, managing director of foreign exchange and commodities at Fifth Third Bank, told the Commodities Summit on Friday. “They’re really in the evaluation stage.”

U.S. oil prices have fallen some 30 percent in recent months, tumbling to as low as $75.84 a barrel earlier this month after trading near $107 a barrel at the end of June.

With the price slump, investors have been on edge about just how producers will react. Earlier this week, Continental Resources Inc. told investors that it exited all of its hedges through 2016, with CEO Harold Hamm saying the price slump is temporary and betting prices will soon recover.

While the U.S. shale boom in the last four years has spurred the nation to become one of the fastest and largest producers of oil, it's also changed how U.S. producers view the market.

With record production across several basins in North Dakota and Texas, along with new drilling efficiencies, what's been produced is having a direct link to how producers view the market.

Interest from the end user and consumer side on hedging has also picked up as prices slip, he added.

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