The black stuff's rally proved short-lived today, with Brent and WTI prices tumbling on waning hopes of an emergency meeting between Opec members and weak economic data from China.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, shed 3.7 per cent to $34.66 per barrel. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, slumped 4.82 per cent to $32 per barrel.
Oil had surged around 25 per cent last week, on speculation over whether Opec (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-Opec members could hammer out a deal to cut crude production and stem the decline.
But a senior Opec source told a Saudi Arabian newspaper today that it was too early to talk about an emergency meeting.
Downward pressure also came from data showing China's manufacturing sector shrank at its fastest pace since 2012 last month. This fed into persistent fears over the pace of its economic slowdown, and future oil demand.
"The weak China purchasing managers index is driving down prices because China weighs on the entire commodities sector from the demand side of the equation," Carsten Fritsch, senior oil analyst at Commerzbank, said.