Oil prices fall as traders fret about Chinese protests

The nation’s strict Covid-19 policy, now compounded with protests, fuels market fears about China’s economic growth taking a hit.

Stock values and oil prices slide Monday morning following civil unrest in China this weekend as protests against the nation’s zero-Covid policy spread to several cities, reports news agency Ritzau.

The scope of the protests, however, is clouded in some uncertainty, although news agency AP writes that public administrations of at least eight cities have struggled to contain demonstrators, with 300 protestors reportedly on the streets of Shanghai on Saturday.

According to Reuters, demonstrations have also been taking place in Wuhan, Chengdu and parts of Beijing.

China’s strict public health policy and consequential unrest have raised market concerns that the nation’s economic growth will come under pressure.

Financial markets are reacting to the situation, with equities sliding and investors seeking safe havens as the US dollar strengthens and commodity prices decline.

”Sentiment in the oil market remains negative, and developments over the weekend in China will certainly not help,” comments Warren Patterson, head of commodities strategy at Singapore-based ING Groep, to the media Strait Times.

A barrel of European reference oil Brent trades for USD 81.41 against USD 84.95 Friday afternoon -- the lowest level since early February.

US benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate trades at the same time for USD74.13 against 77.82.

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