US oil falls below $30 a barrel for first time since 2003

Chris Papadopoullos
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Analysts are saying it could go even lower (Source: Getty)

Oil prices have fallen below $30 a barrel for the first time since 2003.

West Texas Intermediate crude dropped very briefly to $29.97 a barrel before returning to $30 a barrel. It comes after a number of banks cut their forecasts for oil prices. Standard Chartered said it could fall to as low as $10 a barrel. Morgan Stanley has said it could go as low as $20.

Global oil prices have collapsed since June 2014, with Brent falling below $32 per barrel for the first time in 12 years yesterday. Its outlook has darkened amid soaring oversupply, China's weakening economy and stock market turmoil, as well as the strong dollar which makes it more expensive for countries using other currencies to buy the black stuff.

Brent crude – a North Sea benchmark – is hovering around the $30.50 a barrel mark. The oil and gas industry has struggled as a result of the collapse, cutting thousands of jobs. However, consumers have benefited from lower inflation boosting the purchasing power of their pay packets.

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