Oil prices have disintegrated by 78% since peaking to record highs above US$147/barrel in July, to four-year lows in London in volatile pre-Christmas trade amid a pessimistic economic outlook.
On London's InterContinentalExchange (ICE), Brent North Sea crude for February delivery tumbled to US$38.63 (Rs1,893) : the lowest level since 29 December 2004.
Light sweet crude for delivery in February dipped to US$37.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Market players expect crude oil stocks to have dipped by 200,000 barrels in the past week; and distillates (including heating oil), to slip by 100,000 barrels. There is no sign of any economic recovery that will push up oil demand.