17 hours ago - Economy & Business
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios
U.S. oil prices briefly fell to their lowest level since 2021 on Monday, as investors braced for a further slowdown in China's economy.
Why it matters: The surprising decline in energy prices over the last few months should further ease inflation pressures, potentially setting up the Fed — and other central banks — to slow the interest rate hikes that hammered markets this year.
The big picture: Six months back, the world seemed at risk of running dangerously short of oil and gas, due to Russia's attack on Ukraine. Now, oil prices are back to pre-war levels and prices at the pump are falling.
State of play: The tumble is tied to the situation in China, where drastic COVID-related lockdowns of major urban centers — and a rash of protests in response — have upended the economy, potentially adding to the drag on economic growth this year.
What we're watching: The Dec. 4 meeting of OPEC and its partner Russia in Vienna, and whether the powerful oil cartel will cut production to try to keep oil prices from dropping more.