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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Oil Prices Drop on Weaker China Economic Data

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Oil prices fell to their lowest level in months on Monday, after signs emerged that China’s economy is faltering.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, dipped below $88 per barrel, down more than 5 percent on the day, hitting its lowest level since January.

The price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell by a similar amount, to below $94 a barrel, the lowest since March.

China’s economy, which has shown signs of a slowdown for months, sputtered even more in July according to data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Retail sales and industrial production in the month were weaker than expected, according to data released on Monday. The country’s central bank also unexpectedly reduced interest rates by a tenth of a percentage point to help bolster the economy, another signal of tumult.

China’s strict pandemic restrictions have hurt its economy. ING bank cut its forecast for China’s 2022 GDP growth to 4%, down from a previous projection of 4.4%, warning that a further downgrade is possible.

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