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Oil Prices Slump On Demand Worries

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Oil prices fell sharply on Monday on demand concerns driven by the COVID-led extended restrictions in China.

Benchmark Brent crude futures fell $4.47, or 4.2 percent, at $101.68 a barrel after having touched $101.20 earlier in the session, the lowest since April 12. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down $4.37, or 4.3 percent, at $97.70.

Both contracts fell about 5 percent last week on demand concerns.

Growth concerns resurfaced as the lockdown of China’s commercial capital showed little sign of easing.

Shanghai officials today reported 51 COVID-related deaths for the previous day, the highest daily tally recorded in China since the initial outbreak in Wuhan two years ago.

There are fears that coronavirus restrictions in China would extend to Beijing, a development that could weigh on oil demand further.

A stronger dollar also pulled down oil prices. The dollar strengthened and yields edged higher amid bets for an increasingly aggressive and hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve approach to interest-rate rises.

A strong dollar makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for other currency holders and tends to reflect increased risk aversion among investors.

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