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LONDON: US benchmark oil West Texas Intermediate slid Monday on Ukraine peace hopes and after major consumer China imposed a Covid lockdown on the tech hub of Shenzhen.

WTI slid almost 5.1 percent to $103.80 per barrel, while European benchmark Brent North Sea crude shed 4.0 percent to $108.13.

“Prices are falling… due to positive signs from the talks conducted at the weekend by Russian and Ukrainian representatives, which are giving rise to hopes of rapprochement,” noted Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Russia on Sunday said negotiators were making headway at talks to end fighting in Ukraine, more than two weeks after President Vladimir Putin ordered his army over the borders of its pro-Western neighbour.

At the same time, traders are fretting that China’s spreading coronavirus lockdowns could slam demand for crude oil.

“The rapid spread of Covid across China is now unsettling investors, with expectations that mass lockdowns will once again blight the economy,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

She added that “demand (is) expected to take a hit if Chinese economic output falls” due to the latest lockdowns.

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