LONDON (Reuters) - Oil dropped almost $1 a barrel on Monday as a flare-up in COVID-19 cases in Beijing and worries about more interest rate hikes raised concern about demand, although tight global supplies limited losses.
Beijing’s most populous district Chaoyang announced three rounds of mass testing to quell a “ferocious” COVID-19 outbreak that emerged last week. Mass testing would take place until Wednesday.
Brent crude was down 88 cents, or 0.7%, to $121.13 at 1330 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.17, or 1%, to $119.50. Both contracts slid over $2 earlier in the session.
“The present price fall is exacerbated by warnings of a ‘ferocious’ spread of the COVID virus in Beijing by officials, casting doubt on immediate demand recovery,” said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM.
Concern about further rate hikes, heightened by Friday’s U.S. inflation data showing the consumer price index rose 8.6% last month, also pushed oil lower and weighed across financial markets.
The data put markets on alert that the Federal Reserve may tighten policy for too long and cause a sharp slowdown. The next Fed policy decision is on Wednesday.