The oil market became the latest to be swept up in Monday’s global market rout, with prices falling to their lowest levels in a month and a half amid growing worries that US-China tensions will weaken demand for crude.
The sell-off pulled Brent below the $60-a-barrel threshold on Monday for the first time since June. It sank 3.4 per cent to $59.81 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the US oil marker, settled 1.7 per cent lower at $54.69.
Brent ended the day on the cusp of a bear market, which is defined as a fall of at least 20 per cent from its recent high. The international benchmark is now down 19.8 per cent from its April peak of $74.57.
The trade battle between the US and China intensified after China allowed its currency to sink below a key threshold, further straining talks between the world’s two largest economies. Last week, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would impose new tariffs on about $300bn in Chinese goods beginning next month.
Escalating trade tensions ripped through global equities. In the US, the S&P 500 was down 3.4 per cent, and energy shares were among the worst performers in the index.