US oil prices have fallen to their lowest level since December 2021 on fears that protests in China against Covid-19 lockdowns will dent demand.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the North American benchmark, slid 3.2% on Monday to trade close to $74 a barrel, a level last reached in late December. Futures for Brent crude, the global benchmark, also dropped 3.3% to trade close to $81 a barrel. That’s its lowest level since January.
Global oil prices have fallen about 35% since June as strict coronavirus restrictions in China have kept demand weak, and as some of the world’s major economies have signaled they are heading towards a recession.
That’s helped push down gasoline prices for American drivers.
The national average cost of a gallon of gas is now $3.55, down 0.3% from a day ago and by 5.7% from last month, according to the AAA. Crude oil prices are the biggest driver of US gasoline prices, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Thousands of protestors took to the streets across China over the weekend in a rare series of demonstrations against the country’s zero-Covid strategy.
One of the triggers for the protest was a Deadly apartment fire in the Xinjiang region. Videos of the incident appeared to show that lockdown measures had delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
— Julia Horowitz and Jessie Yeung contributed reporting.