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.

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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/