Oil Prices Slide as Investors Fear China’s Economic Outlook following Recent Rise in Covid Cases

Oil prices fell on Monday as investors worried over the economic consequences of new Covid-19 curbs in China, with risk aversion favoring bonds and the dollar.

By 10.02 a.m. (Thai time), Brent crude was down $1.00, or 1.14%, to $86.61 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down $0.78, or 0.97%, to $79.30.

Last week, Brent fell 9% and WTI fell nearly 10%.

Beijing’s most populous district urged residents to stay at home on Monday as the city’s Covid case numbers rose, while at least one district in Guangzhou was locked down for five days.

China saw its first Covid-related death in almost six months on Saturday and another two were reported on Sunday.

The rash of outbreaks across the country has been a setback to hopes for an early easing in strict pandemic restrictions, one reason cited for a 10% slide in oil prices last week.

Meanwhile, the US dollar began the week on the offensive, bolstered by defensive buying as investors remained on alert following an increase in Covid-19 cases in some Chinese cities, prompting officials to tighten restrictions.

The dollar index increased 0.131% to 107.030 on Monday, following its greatest weekly gain in a month the previous week, while the offshore Chinese yuan rate was $7.1700 per dollar.