Oil prices slid Monday, building on last week’s steep losses, as rising Covid cases prompted fears of a demand slowdown.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures declined 3.6% to trade at $65.85 per barrel. The contract traded as low as $65.15 during the session. International benchmark Brent crude declined 3.5% to $68.21 per barrel.
“The biggest challenge for oil markets remains the uncertainty around COVID as the ‘delta variant’ has made for the highest daily case counts since early 2021,” Bank of America said.
Data from China also weighed on crude on Monday. The country’s export growth unexpectedly slowed in July, while imports rose 28.1% from a year earlier. This was below forecasts that called for a 33% increase.
China, the world’s second largest oil consumer, imported 9.7 million barrels per day in July, the fourth straight month below 10 million bpd, according to analysts Commerzbank.