World oil prices sank more than five percent Monday on fears that China’s worsening COVID-19 outbreak could slam demand from the major energy consumer.
Europe’s benchmark contract Brent North Sea crude fell as low as $101.20 per barrel and US WTI oil dropped to $96.85.
China is struggling to get a grip on a renewed COVID-19 outbreak that has forced Shanghai -- the country’s biggest city – into lockdown and dealt a blow to energy demand.
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Global markets have also been stung by the prospect of a sharp increase in US interest rates.
“Market moods have deteriorated as the Covid situation in China is not improving and the media is hinting that Beijing could be next in line for a lockdown after Shanghai and several other major cities,” said XTB analyst Walid Koudmani.
“As China is the second largest economy in the world, the situation ... has a big impact on commodity markets with oil and industrial metals dropping significantly.”
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