OIL AT 14-YEAR LOWS

The price of oil is still nosediving.

After hitting 11-year lows on Wednesday, both UK Brent and US crude prices have tanked to 14-year lows on Thursday.

Brent is down 4.15% at $32.89 (£22.49) at 7.00 a.m. GMT (2.00 a.m. ET) and US crude is down 3.84% at $32.66 (£22.33). Both are at levels not seen since 2002 when the oil price was recovering from September 11.

Here’s the Brent price in context (Investing.com’s price graph only covers a maximum of 10 years, meaning we can’t see the last time the price was this low — that’s how bad things are):

BrentInvesting.com

What’s driving the price down? Lots of things. Oil started January on the back foot thanks to escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and traders have been jittery ever since.

The immediate catalyst for Thursday’s collapse appears to be China. China weakened the value of its yuan currency by 0.51% to 6.5646 against the US dollar overnight, the biggest drop since August.

Stock markets are also in turmoil — China’s market “circuit breaker” was triggered for the second time in four days, halting trade after a 7% collapse in 15 minutes. That has had a knock-on effect for Asian markets, sending them falling to three-month lows.

In the context then, you can understand why oil traders are reaching for their tin hats on Thursday.

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