Oil slides to near two-week lows amid lockdowns and potential rate hikes

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Oil prices slumped to near two-week lows on Monday, extending losses from last week, as concerns grew that prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and potential US rate hikes would hurt global economic growth and fuel demand.

Brent crude futures were down $3.15, at $103.50 a barrel. They touched $103.41 earlier in the session, the lowest since April 12 2022.

On the other hand, US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $3.01, to $99.06 a barrel, having skidded earlier to $98.93, the lowest since April 12 2022.

The benchmarks lost nearly 5% last week on demand concerns.

Shanghai authorities battling an outbreak of Covid-19 have erected fences outside residential buildings, sparking a fresh public outcry over a lockdown that has forced much of the city’s 25-million people indoors.

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has indicated that a half-point interest rate increase “will be on the table” when the Fed meets in May 2022 to approve the next, in what are expected to be a series of hikes in 2022.

On the supply side, US energy firms added oil and natural gas rigs for a fifth straight week amid high prices and prodding by the government.




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