US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January deliver was down 66 cents at $59.29 in afternoon trade. The contract on Thursday closed below the psychological $60 mark in New York for the first time since July 2009. Brent crude was down 29 cents at $63.39.
“There just doesn’t seem to be any relief for oil prices at the moment,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.
“The bearish sentiment is unlikely to change until the end of the year unless we see a significant drop in global production levels or a supply disruption,” he said.
WTI and Brent prices have fallen precipitously since hitting 2014 peaks of $106 and $115 respectively in June.
The drop has been attributed to slowing growth in China and emerging-market economies, a recession in Japan and a near-stall in the eurozone.
On top of that, OPEC last month said it would maintain output levels despite ample global supplies, in part due to cheaper oil extracted from North American shale rock.
McCarthy said at levels below $60, prices falls are likely to face “more resistance than at the moment”.
Analysts said the crude market had largely ignored data showing a healthy rise in US retail sales in November that raised hopes about consumer demand in the world’s largest economy. (AFP)