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U.S. Crude Drops Below $70.00/barrel

U.S. crude declined nearly 4% on Wednesday with retail gasoline prices hitting the lowest point in 11 months ahead of the holiday shopping and travel season.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for January had fallen $2.80, or 3.87%, by noon EST, to $69.52 a barrel, while the Brent contract for February declined $2.68, or 3.47%, to $74.52 a barrel.

U.S. crude and the global benchmark have hit their lowest levels since June, despite efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies (known as OPEC+) to boost prices by promising to slash supply in the first quarter of 2024.

Prices at the pump in the U.S., meanwhile, have followed oil prices lower to hit $3.22 a gallon on average as of Wednesday, the lowest price since Jan. 3, according to AAA.

Oil prices have been on a downward trajectory since September highs as nations outside OPEC+, particularly the U.S., pump crude at breakneck clip and worries grow about the Chinese economy.