U.S. oil prices fell to their lowest level since December 2021 on fears that protests against Covid-19 lockdowns in China will dampen demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the North American benchmark, slid 3.2 percent on Monday to near $74 a barrel, a level reached at the end of December. Brent crude futures, the global benchmark, also fell 3.3 percent to trade around $81 a barrel. This is the lowest level since January.
Global oil prices have fallen 35% since June as strict coronavirus restrictions in China have dampened demand and some of the world’s major economies are heading for recession.
This has helped lower fuel prices for American motorists.
The national average price of a gallon of gas is now $3.55, down 0.3% from a day ago and down 5.7% from last month, according to AAA. Crude oil prices are the biggest driver of US gasoline prices, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets across China over the weekend. A rare series of demonstrations against the country’s zero-covid strategy.
One of the triggers for the protests was a deadly apartment fire in Xinjiang province. Videos of the incident appear to show that firefighters were delayed in reaching the victims.
This is a developing story and will evolve.
– Julia Horowitz and Jesse Yung contributed reporting.