Oil prices have dropped below $33 a barrel, with investors worried by a fall in Chinese equities.

Brent LCOc1 fell more than 5% to a low of $32.16, while the US crude futures CLc1 dropped more than 5% to a low of $32.10 per barrel, Reuters reported.

China weakened its currency yuan, sending shockwaves for regional currencies and stock markets as the offshore yuan CNH=D3 fell to 6.6915 against the dollar.

The yuan plunged to a five-year low in offshore trading.

"Negative sentiment is hurting demand expectations."

The slump reflected further weakness in the currency amid an economic slowdown, as well as a fall in stock markets.

Stock markets trading in China were also suspended less than half an hour after opening.

ABN Amro in Amsterdam senior energy economist Hans van Cleef told the news agency: "Negative sentiment is hurting demand expectations, growth is easing in China and there is a spillover from the inventory build in US gasoline stocks from yesterday and this is reflected in prices."

Data revealed by the US Government on Wednesday showed a 10.6 million barrel increase in gasoline supplies.

Image: US crude futures CLc1 edged down more than 5% to a low of $32.10 per barrel. Photo: courtesy of Anusorn P nachol/