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NEW YORK: US oil prices fell in frenzied trading on Tuesday to their lowest settlement levels this year, with Brent finishing below $80 per barrel for the second time in 2022, as investors fled the volatile market in an uncertain economy. Brent crude futures fell $3.33, or 4%, to settle at $79.35 a barrel. WTI crude futures fell $2.68, or 3.5%, to settle at $74.25 a barrel, their lowest settlement this year.

Prices have dropped by more than 1% for three straight sessions, giving up most of their gains for the year. A string of bearish news has unnerved investors despite an ongoing war in Ukraine and one of the worst energy crises in recent decades.

“It’s been quite the three days - with OPEC+ deciding not to further cut production on Sunday, the toothless start of the Russian price cap and sanctions yesterday, and a rout in equity markets today, oil speculators are charging for the exits amid a flight from risk assets,” said Matt Smith, lead oil analyst at Kpler.

Oil falls nearly 3pc after data raises Fed interest rate worries

Service-sector activity in China has hit a six-month low, and European economies have slowed due to the high cost of energy and rising interest rates.

Wall Street benchmarks also tumbled on Tuesday on uncertainty around the direction of Federal Reserve rate hikes and further talk of a looming recession. Tuesday’s slump was the largest daily decline in Brent prices since late September, which have traded in a $62 range this year - their widest swing in a single year since the 2008 financial meltdown.

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