Global oil markets slumped on Tuesday for a fourth straight day, still seeking a bottom with crude prices at their lowest since spring 2009 on mounting worries about a global supply glut.
U.S. crude closed at $47.93 per barrel, the lowest settlement since since April 2009, down $2.11 on the day. Benchmark Brent crude fell to a session low of $50.55 a barrel, its lowest since May 2009, in late afternoon trade. It was last down 3.5 percent at $51.23 per barrel.
Refined products such as gasoline and heating oil rose, bucking the lower crude prices as investors took profits on short positions.
Traders said the trend for crude seemed lower, but that prices could bounce up whenever there is a break in market sentiment. One such moment occurred on Tuesday, when weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data suppressed the dollar for awhile. This brought oil off session lows, but only briefly before the downward path resumed.
"I think the likelihood of seeing $46 to $45 is quite likely,'' Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said. "People, I think, are further understanding that the U.S. is becoming a powerhouse in creating crude oil and that's not going to change anytime soon.''
Oil prices have plunged more than 55 percent since June, when Brent traded above $117 a barrel and U.S. crude above $107.