Oil prices fell further on Wednesday, after having tumbled to an 11-month low in the previous session on concerns about the outlook for energy demand.
Benchmark Brent crude futures fell nearly 2 percent to $77.82 a barrel, while WTI crude futures were down 1.8 percent at $72.90.
Recession worries gripped financial markets after top U.S. banks warned of a recession in 2023 and China reported weak trade balance figures for November.
Chinese shipments registered an annual decrease of 8.7 percent in November, data from the General Administration of Customs revealed.
Economists had expected a moderate 3.6 percent drop in exports after a 0.3 percent easing in October. This was the second consecutive fall and also the largest since early 2020.
Likewise, imports to China decreased the most since the middle of 2020 – stirring fresh worries about fuel demand in the world’s second-largest economy.
Imports fell 10.6 percent annually, bigger than the expected 5.0 percent fall and October’s 0.7 percent decrease.
Meanwhile, investors ignored industry data showing that crude oil inventories dropped for the fourth week in a row last week.
The American Petroleum Institute estimated a drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles of around 6.4 million barrels, suggesting demand remained strong in the world’s largest consumer.
The official numbers from the Energy Information Administration are due later in the session.