News that China's crude consumption has fallen 5.4% in August from July has pulled down oil prices to US$70/barrel levels. Benchmark crude for October delivery settled at US$70.30 on the Nymex, after falling to US$69.71 on Monday. In London, Brent crude settled at US$69.33 on the ICE Futures exchange.
This is China’s first month-to-month drop since March, as oil imports were curtailed along with crude throughput rates at its domestic refineries. Energy consumption in North America and Europe has already witnessed a severe drop, affecting the oil markets. So far, the Chinese market was considered to be robust enough to consume oil, gasoline and diesel in growing quantities.