Protests in China send oil prices plummeting


The Covid protest wave in China is putting pressure on oil prices at the start of the week. US crude oil was cheaper in the morning than it has been for months.

Oil prices fell sharply on Monday, continuing the losing trend of the past week. At the start of the week, concerns about further developments in China had put pressure on quotations, market observers said. In the morning, a barrel (159 liters) of North Sea oil Brent cost 81.41 U.S. dollars. That was 2.22 dollars less than on Friday. The price of a barrel of U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell by 2.03 dollars to 74.25 dollars.

China is currently experiencing the largest wave of protests in decades due to growing opposition to the government’s zero-covid policy. Demonstrations over the weekend continued into Monday night in many cities in the world’s second-largest economy. This dampened investors’ appetite for risk on the financial markets in the morning and also dragged down oil prices. Resentment among the Chinese population is directed against strict pandemic measures such as repeated lockdowns, mass tests and forced quarantine.

Earlier, concerns about a slowdown in the global economy with lower demand for crude oil had already weighed heavily on prices on the oil market. Since mid-November, the price of North Sea crude oil has plummeted by almost $15. During this period, the price of U.S. oil also fell by around 15 dollars, with the price of U.S. crude oil slipping below 74 dollars a barrel at times in the morning – its lowest level since the beginning of the year.