Increased pumping by OPEC as Chinese demand appears to be slackening could drive oil to the lowest prices since the peak of the financial crisis.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures skidded through the year's lows and looked set to break into the $30s-per-barrel range after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries admitted to more pumping and China devalued its currency, sending ripples through global markets.
"The familiar theme of oversupply and shaky demand is getting punctuated today," said Again Capital partner John Kilduff, who has expected WTI to aim for $30 per barrel. WTI futures for September fell more than 4 percent Tuesday and traded below $43.26 per barrel, the March 17 low.
Kilduff said, "$42.03 is going to be key. Then we'll be back to extrapolating back down to the low 30s from the financial crisis." The intraday low in 2015 was $42.03, also reached in March. Brent futures, meanwhile, were just below $49 per barrel.
"Overall, I think this devaluation by the Chinese suggests maybe the slowdown in economic growth is greater than people anticipate, and that's where fear on the demand side is coming from and driving us lower," said Gene McGillian, analyst with Tradition Energy.