US benchmark oil prices drop 3% to $66.42 a barrel after disappointing Chinese factory data and persistent Delta variant fears. The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan following a US withdrawal is adding to a retreat in risk appetite. “Oil prices are lower as China reported lower than expected industrial output, implying China’s recovery is losing steam while renewing demand fears,” says Peter Cardillo at Spartan Capital. The data in China, the world’s No. 2 oil consumer, saw a larger-than-forecast slowdown in both factory and retail sales last month.