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Oil hits new multi-year lows as Brent dips below US$40
[NEW YORK] Oil prices dipped to new multi-year lows on Tuesday as last week's do-nothing Opec meeting continued to weigh on the petroleum market.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery shed 14 cents at US$37.51 a barrel.
Brent North Sea oil for January delivery dropped 47 cents to finish at US$40.26 a barrel in London.
Earlier Brent had fallen below US$40 for the first time since February 2009. It was the second session in a row the two benchmark contracts closed at their lowest levels since that month nearly seven years ago.
Oil prices tumbled early in the session after weak Chinese trade data underscored worries about slowing global growth. But prices rallied back into positive territory part of the day, a sign some traders thought a bottom had been reached.
Oil prices have been on the defensive since Friday, when the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries took no action on production to address a supply glut that has depressed prices for more than a year.
Analysts have criticised the outcome as a sign of discord within the cartel.
"After the Opec decision - or should that be indecision - last week, the question was not if but rather when this would occur," said ETX Capital analyst Daniel Sugarman, in reference to Brent's latest slide below US$40.
Analysts said the market could be primed for another retreat following Wednesday's release of US oil inventory data. The report is expected to show higher crude inventories and supplies of home-heating oil, due in part to unseasonably warm weather that has depressed heating demand in the US.