[NEW YORK] Oil prices sank to new five-year lows Wednesday with the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude nearly hitting US$60 a barrel (S$78.66), 40 per cent down from just six months ago.
Prices lost more than US$2 a barrel helped by a fresh forecast from Opec that said demand for the cartel's crude would fall to 28.92 million barrels a day next year, the lowest level since 2003 and at least one million barrels less than it is producing now.
Yet the group showed no sign of cutting back production, while output growth continues in suppliers in North America and other sources.
In New York trade WTI for January delivery fell as far as US$60.43 a barrel before finishing at US$60.94, down US$2.88 from Tuesday.
In London, Brent North Sea for January delivery lost US$2.60 at US$64.24.
"The market is under pressure once again as Opec has revised downward its forecast for oil demand at the same time we saw comments from the Saudi Arabia oil minister that they have no plan to cut," said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.
In addition, he said, US crude stockpiles rose last week against expectations, keeping a strong overhang of stored oil over the market.