As the impact of COVID-19 curbs in top crude importer China and expectations of more interest rate hikes spurred fears of a global economic recession and decreased fuel consumption, oil prices dropped more than $1 on Wednesday to their lowest level since before the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Brent crude futures fell $1.35, or 1.5%, to $91.48 a barrel by 04:20 GMT after falling 3% in the previous session. The contract reached its lowest level since February 18 at $91.35.
Crude futures for West Texas Intermediate fell $1.55, or 1.8%, to $85.33. Crude futures for West Texas Intermediate fell to a session low of $85.17. The price of oil pared strong gains made on Monday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 100,000 barrels per day in October.
According to Reuters, China’s zero-COVID policy has kept cities such as Chengdu, with 21.2 million people, under lockdown, restricting people movement and oil demand. The country’s exports and imports lost momentum in August, with growth significantly below expectations. Customs data showed that crude oil imports fell 9.4% in August from a year earlier because of outages at state-run refineries and lower production at independent plants.