Oil prices slump 4% on jitters over Europe lockdowns, U.S. elections
Oil prices slumped more than 4 percent on Monday to the lowest levels since May on worries a swathe of coronavirus lockdowns across Europe will weaken fuel demand, while traders braced for turbulence during the U.S. presidential election week.
Brent crude for January was at $36.32 a barrel, down $1.62, or 4.3 percent, by 0018 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate fell $1.62, or 4.5 percent, to $34.17 a barrel. Brent earlier hit a low of $35.74 a barrel while WTI slipped to $33.64 a barrel.
Countries across Europe have reimposed lockdown measures aimed at slowing COVID-19 infection rates which have accelerated in the continent in the past month.
"The lockdown measures announced by UK and by Italy are just adding to the deteriorating European situation," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, said.
"A lot of traders are now looking at the U.S. and their rising infection rates and wondering if Europe is providing the model for what will happen in the U.S. in the coming weeks."
Concerns about weakening demand and rising supplies caused oil prices to fall for a second straight month in October, with WTI falling 11 percent and Brent 8.5 percent.