Brent crude fell below $100 a barrel for the first time since June 2013, as a slowdown in imports into China reinforced signs of surplus oil supply. West Texas Intermediate dropped to the lowest in almost eight months.
The global benchmark slipped as much as $1.10, or 1.1 percent, to $99.72 a barrel in London. The last time it traded below $100 was June 24, 2013. China’s purchases declined 2.4 percent in August, compared with a 1.6 percent drop in July, data from the Beijing-based customs administration show. Chinese exports rose by 9.4 percent.
Oil markets in the U.S. and Europe face a glut amid constrained consumption and the recovery of supplies from Libya, according to the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based adviser to 29 nations. Growth in China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, will drop to 7.4 percent this year, the weakest pace since 1990, according to economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg. It will slide to 7.2 percent in 2015.
“Demand fears will take some time to dissipate,” Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital in London, said by e-mail. “China’s slowing imports this morning did not help lift these concerns. The Atlantic basin supply glut is still in place.”
Brent for October settlement traded 84 cents lower at $99.98 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange at 11:57 a.m. local time. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.34 to WTI. It closed at $7.53 on Sept. 5.
WTI for October delivery lost as much as 95 cents, or 1 percent, to $92.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest since Jan. 14.