Crude Oil prices continue to fall due to Chinese restrictions

Crude Oil prices fell slightly in early Asian trade on Tuesday, adding to a 6% drop the previous session, as coronavirus outbreaks in China's largest oil importer and probable economic turbulence in Europe fueled concerns about demand.
At 09 GMT, Brent crude was down 36 cents, or 0.3 percent, to USD105.58. WTI crude in the United States slipped 23 cents, or 0.2 percent, to USD102.86 a barrel. Prices had fallen over USD1 early in the session, but had since recovered. So far this year, both contracts have gained roughly 35%.

Financial markets are paying attention to fears that future restrictions on Russian oil imports as a result of the country's invasion of Ukraine could put certain European countries in financial hardship. The European Commission recommended a phased ban on Russian oil last week, causing Brent and WTI prices to rise for the second week in a row. This week, EU members must vote unanimously to approve the idea.

According to reports, the country's government are covertly preparing an emergency package in case Russian gas supplies are suddenly cut off, which could involve seizing control of crucial companies. Hungary has also reiterated its view that a new round of proposed penalties against Russia would not be accepted until its concerns are addressed. 

 Concerns about interest rate hikes and recession fears have also rattled global financial markets, as stricter and wider COVID-19 lockdowns in China resulted in reduced export growth in April.

China's crude imports declined 4.8 percent year over year in the first four months of 2022, but were up over 7 percent in April.

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