This is how low traders see oil going now

Crude oil broke below $40 per barrel Wednesday afternoon, hitting the lowest level since August as the dollar remains strong and economic growth appears to be weak.

Crude found its lows shortly after the 2 p.m. EST release of the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book." This summarizing report stated that "economic activity increased at a modest pace in most regions of the country" in October and November. Disappointing economic data should tend to be bearish for oil, as it translates into decreased demand.

Meanwhile, the dollar index hit a 12-year high Wednesday, on the back of a speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen that continued to increase the perceived chance of a December rate hike. A strong greenback should tend to put oil under pressure.

At this point, many market participants foresee continued pressure on oil prices.

"I anticipate a quick push down to $38 over the next few sessions due to building inventories, slowing demand and OPEC inability to cut production," RJO Futures strategist Phillip Streible wrote to CNBC, referring to the Friday meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Read More Why OPEC's plan to balance oil markets backfired

Pointing to the increases seen in oil inventories despite record demand, Stephen Schork of The Schork Report said that the "market is still favoring bears at this point."

U.S. crude oil inventories remain at record-high levels and rose by 1.2 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 27, according to an EIA report released Wednesday.

Read More U.S. crude stocks climb for 10th straight week - EIA

Thanks to strong supply, Schork told CNBC in a phone interview that he sees oil going into the "mid-$30s, and perhaps revisiting the 2009 lows of $32, $33" per barrel.

Some, like Todd Gordon of, are even more bearish. Gordon is sticking to a previous call for crude oil to fall to $26.

"Crude oil is getting hit on a stronger dollar. Now as the reality of higher interest rates is setting in for stock investors, the demand is starting to weigh on crude oil from the other side. ... I think the downside is in track here for some time," Gordon said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

On the other hand, Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management believes oil could stage a temporary turnaround. The OPEC meeting, along with traders covering short positions, may end up driving a short-term bounce in oil prices, he said.

"I actually think we might see a little bit of a pause here," Schlossberg said on "Trading Nation." "In the long term, oil is definitely headed to the $20s. But I think we're going to have some kind of a short squeeze coming up very soon and I wouldn't want to be short just now."


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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