The global oil benchmark, Brent crude, fell 2.6% to trade at $44.26 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. This is the first time Brent has traded below $45 a barrel in six years, and it is now trading about 56% lower than its year-high of $103.19 a barrel reached in August last year. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading below the key $40 level at $39.12 a barrel, down 3.3%. That is the lowest level in almost six-and-a-half years. The falls in crude followed an 8.5% decline on the Shanghai Composite Index. China is the world's largest consumer of commodities, and second-largest consumer of oil after the U.S.
Crude-oil prices slid more than six percent in early trade on Friday after the UK voted to leave the European Union.
The uncertainty over the U.K’s future has battered the British pound while the U.S. dollar rose sharply.
Crude futures for delivery in August traded at US$47.38 a barrel down $2 .64 .
As oil is pegged to the dollar, traders with foreign currencies tend to hold back their buying when the dollar is strong.