ISLAMABAD: Global crude prices remained on downward slide for the third straight session and dropped over one percent on Monday due to demand concerns over spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in China, the world’s biggest oil importer.
At 1050 hours GMT, Brent, the international benchmark for two-thirds of the world’s oil, shed $0.85 (-1.20 percent) to reach $69.74 a barrel. Similarly, the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reached $67.52, down by $0.92 (-1.34 percent).
The price for Opec Basket was recorded at $71.32 a barrel with 1.13 percent increase, Arab Light was available at $71.88 a barrel with 0.72 percent decrease, while the price of Russian Sokol slipped to $70.77 after shedding 1.10 percent.
According to experts, Chinese factory output and retail sales growth slowed sharply in July, as flooding and fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 disrupted business activity. China’s crude oil processing last month also fell to the lowest level on a daily basis since May 2020 as independent refiners cut production in the face of tighter quotas, elevated inventories and falling profits, they said.
Doubts about the speed of economic recovery were also heightened after U.S. consumer sentiment dropped sharply in early August to its lowest in a decade, a University of Michigan survey showed late last week. The International Energy Agency (IEA) last week said that rising demand for crude oil reversed course in July and was expected to increase at a slower rate over the rest of 2021 because of surging Covid-19 infections from the Delta variant.