Oil futures fall to 8-month low on slowdown fears

Fears of a global economic slowdown have sent the US crude oil benchmark to an eight-month low.

WTI crude futures finished at just under 82 dollars a barrel on Wednesday. It's the lowest level since mid-January.

The benchmark dropped as coronavirus restrictions in China are delaying a recovery in demand.

Concern about a widespread slowdown is also growing as central banks in the US and Europe hike interest rates in a bid to tame inflation.

WTI futures topped 130 dollars a barrel in early March after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. That fueled inflation around the world and started to put a crimp on demand.

Crude prices have been on a steady decline in recent months.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and major non-member oil producers including Russia are trying to prevent a further drop. They decided on Monday to cut their output in October.

But analysts say there is speculation that prices will keep falling if the Chinese economy continues to lose steam.