Demand continues to far exceed supply. Some major oil suppliers are increasing output at the same time that global growth is slowing, reducing demand. The result is a bear market that continues to become worse. Some analysts believe that the recent run of price declines is the worst period ever for oil prices.
Both WTI and Brent have fallen more than 20 percent from their four-year highs last month, putting them in bear market territory.
The pullback began in October when crude futures fell in tandem with stocks during a broad market sell-off that saw investors shed risky assets. Signs of looming oversupply in the market have put additional pressure on oil prices.
Oil demand is still expected to surpass more than 100 million barrels per day next year, but forecasters have steadily revised their outlook for demand growth lower. Even as the demand outlook weakens, OPEC and Russia have been hiking output and supplies are surging from the United States.