Oil prices slipped below $32 a barrel Monday to a 12-year low. Slowing growth in China and the recent crash in Chinese markets are battering investors’ hopes for stronger crude oil demand this year.
West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark oil, fell to $31.96 a barrel — the lowest level since Dec. 23, 2003 — before dipping further to $31.79 by 11:58 a.m. EST. Brent crude, the global benchmark oil, dropped 5.34 percent to $31.76 a barrel before edging up to $31.90.
Analysts pointed to China’s economic woes as the main reason for the plunge in oil and commodity prices. China last week saw a slide in the yuan and two emergency trading suspensions in the stock markets amid signs of weaker growth.