Brent crude oil fell over 3 per cent to crash below $100 per barrel, following the second straight weekly decline, pressured by China lockdowns and weighed by a surplus boost after announced plans to release a record volume of crude and oil products from strategic stocks.
While for several weeks, benchmark crude futures have gone through wild gyrations, the most since June 2020, global oil markets were down for the second straight week.
On Monday, the benchmark Brent crude fell over $3, or 3 per cent, to $99.63 a barrel, and US crude lost nearly 4 per cent to about $95 a barrel.
Last week, Brent had dropped 1.5 per cent, and US West Texas Intermediate slid 1 per cent.
The world’s largest importer has limited the oil market’s appeal; China is battling a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, with authorities keeping Shanghai, a city of 26 million people, locked down under its “zero tolerance” for COVID-19.
In addition, International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries agreed to release 60 million barrels on top of a 180 million-barrel release announced by the US last week to help drive down prices in a tight market following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the US matching that amount as part of its 180 million barrel release announced in March.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, global crude prices have jumped, with the international benchmark Brent futures hitting a multi-decade high of nearly $140 a barrel last month.
While crude costs have eased from those highs, with benchmark futures contracts falling for a second straight week, International oil prices had remained above $100 per barrel since Moscow attacked Ukraine.