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Oil prices fell over 4 percent on Monday to extend last week’s steep losses as surging coronavirus cases in the United States and China dampened the outlook for fuel demand.

Benchmark Brent crude futures slid $2.89, or 4.1 percent, to $67.81 a barrel, after having plunged 6 percent last week, marking their biggest weekly loss in four months.

WTI crude futures were down $2.86, or 4.2 percent, at $65.42 a barrel, after having slumped nearly 7 percent last week in their steepest weekly decline in nine months.

The seven-day average for new daily COVID-19 infections has surpassed 100,000 in the United States, returning to levels not seen since the winter surge.

In China, the highly infectious Delta variant has been detected in more than a dozen cities since July 20.

New curbs in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, include flight cancellations, warnings by 46 cities against travel, and limits on public transport and taxi services in 144 of the worst-hit areas.

China’s export growth slowed more than expected in July, import growth was also weaker than expected and the country’s factory inflation surged again in July, adding to concerns over an economic slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

Crude oil imports in China fell in July and were down sharply from the record levels of June 2020.


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