Crude oil prices plunged below US$70 and Canadian energy stocks took a beating Wednesday as market chaos continued amid concerns about a spreading bank crisis.

"We're down US$12 in two and a half days, which is obviously a very, very, very large move in crude oil," said Rory Johnston, a Toronto-based energy analyst and founder of the Commodity Context newsletter.

"I think everyone's panicking today. I think panic is the name of the game right now," said Johnston.

Global oil prices have been falling all week as concerns about the health of the global banking sector mount in the wake of the recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the U.S.

On Wednesday, as shares in Zurich-based Credit Suisse tanked after the bank reported it had identified "material weaknesses" in the firm's internal controls on financial reporting, concerns about a potential global economic slowdown hit crude oil  particularly hard.

The North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate plunged more than four per cent on Wednesday to around US$68 per barrel.

That's the lowest crude price since December of 2021, and it sent oil and gas stocks tumbling, marking the third straight day of losses for the sector this week