Oil prices slid further today as the global credit crunch and fears for slowing energy demand took their toll, with prices now down about 50 per cent from July's record highs.
New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for November delivery, dropped $1.34 to $73.20 a barrel.
It slid $4.09 at the close of floor trading yesterday at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent North Sea crude for November delivery eased $1.30 to $69.50.
Brent settled down $3.73 yesterday in London, and dropped below the $70 level for the first time since June 2007 in electronic trading after the market closed.
Victor Shum, of Purvin and Gertz international energy consultancy in Singapore, said most commodities including oil were following stocks lower on fears for the global economy.
Japan's Nikkei stock index plunged more than 10 per cent in early trade today, the Singapore bourse was down almost six per cent, and the exchanges in Seoul and Australia dropped more than six per cent.
They were following the lead of Wall Street, where shares yesterday suffered their worst percentage drop in 21 years.
"Everything is down," Shum said. "The fears about this global credit crisis leading to an extended economic slump, and perhaps a recession, really are causing investors to bail out of equities and also oil."
Oil prices have plunged from record highs above $147, reached in July, because of worries over demand in a slowing global economy.
The dramatic rise in oil prices was partly driven by a flow of investor funds.
6 months ago