Oil prices plunge over 5% on weaker China demand fears

World oil prices plunged more than five percent Monday, reaching the lowest levels since January, on forecasts of a hit to Chinese demand.

Brent North Sea crude slumped 5.5 percent to $82.84 per barrel and WTI shed 5.7 percent to $75.55 as China’s first coronavirus death in six months triggered fears of renewed strict lockdowns in the world’s second biggest economy.

“Crude oil prices have slipped back sharply on the back of concerns over weakening Chinese demand, as well as reports that Saudi Arabia supports the idea of a production increase,” noted Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

He added that oil futures were “well below the levels they were before the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, helping to ease high inflation concerns. — Agence France-Presse