Credit Suisse drags oil decline to lowest since December 2021

Crude oil prices continued to fall today, with a barrel of WTI trading at its lowest price since December 2021, due to concerns about the potential impact of Credit Suisse's difficulties following the collapse of SVB.

At 13:30 in Maputo, Brent North Sea crude for May delivery was down 1.43% to 76.34 dollars, trading at its lowest level of the year.The US counterpart, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for April delivery, was down 1.53% to 70.24 dollars, shortly after hitting 69.76 dollars, a 15-month low.

The prices of both world benchmarks fell by more than 8% in a week.

The repercussions of the bankruptcy of the American Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) continue to "affect the financial markets and the oil market," say Energi Danmark analysts quoted by RTP/AFP, pushing investors to favor safe havens.

"The market fears a recession and falling demand is pushing prices down," they say.

Today, concerns about the situation of the banks have crystallized around the difficulties of Credit Suisse, while the largest shareholder, Saudi National Bank, has ruled out any increase in the capital of the ailing bank.

"What began as a regional banking crisis in the US has suddenly turned into a European crisis," Chris Beauchamp, an analyst at IG, told AFP.

Oil had started the European session higher after "a flurry of positive macroeconomic data" from China, the world's largest crude importer, said Stephen Brennock, an analyst at PVM Energy.

The country's retail sales, the main indicator of domestic consumption, recorded their first recovery since September, a sign of a recovery in activity since the lifting of the anti-covid restrictions.

DNB analysts also pointed to an increase in Chinese refinery production in January and February, also indicating a recovery in fuel demand.

On Tuesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had revised Chinese demand upwards in its monthly report.

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