- This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on January 13, Wednesday.
Welcome to CNBC Business Daily, I'm Qian Chen.
WTI crude dipped below $30 per barrel on Tuesday, to $29.93, touching its lowest level since December 2003, while BRENT fell to $30.50, hitting its lowest level since 2004
The plunge in oil prices is a constant reminder of the glut in the market.
Morgan Stanley reiterated its concerns in a recent note forecasting oil prices could fall into the $20s with the strength in the U.S. dollar against major currencies. Goldman Sachs also downgraded its target price for oil to $20, while Standard Chartered set it to $10.
Gartman agrees with that forecast of $20, but he sees crude spending only a short period of time at those depressed levels.
"The dollar is the predominant deciding factor at this point, and as long as the dollar continues to go higher, and it does, the pressure will remain on the crude oil market. I really thought that $32 might hold. I actually thought that would be the furthest that we could extend it down to, but we're getting a panic situation. And in panic you can get an egregiously lower price," he said.
According to Gartman, the bottom is not in for oil: It could fall much further.
"Egregiously lower - $15, $16, $17, $18 per barrel on the front month for a day or two but it won't last long down there," he said.
Now, back to the supply and demand problem.
It's not just fundamentals; oil prices are being slammed by a severe erosion in market confidence caused by the fragile global environment, according to a top commentator on energy and geopolitics.
Dan Yergin, vice chairman of consultancy IHS, told CNBC that worries stemming from Iran to China were key to the oil price.
One big question for the market is when Iran would come back into the market and how much oil it would produce once U.S. sanctions are lifted, he said.
[DAN (t)YERGIN IHS Vice Chairman] "073342 Saudi Arabia and gulf countries are not going to cut back to make room for Iran coming back to the market. But you point to the question that when does Iran come back and I think that's really the big uncerntainty hanging over the market. It could be days away because its speeded up the implementation in the nuclear agreement.073400 "
On the demand side, Yergin said the big uncertainty is on China.
[DAN (t)YERGIN IHS Vice Chairman] "073535 2014 800 thousand barrels per day, growth in demand, very low. 2015, somewhere between 1.7 and 1.9 million barrels a day, Americans are driving more than what theyve driven before, they are buying, instead of 50%, its now 60% SUV type of vehicles going on, you know, we dont think demand for 2016 is as strong as it was in 2015, but that demand is much more than 2014.The big worry though, that goes back to the China question. 073608"
But there's been some question about whether some of the U.S. oil companies can survive until the market stabilizes.
Oppenheimer analyst Fadel Gheit told CNBC on Monday that half of the American shale producers could go bankrupt before crude eventually turns.
Gheit also sees equilibrium at around $60 per barrel, but said it could take more than two years to get there.
Hamm said the bankruptcy narrative has been vastly overstated.
"It's a different situation than it was in the 1980s. Most of the companies out there [now] have long term money that's not coming due tomorrow," he said. "They're able to ride this out."
"A lot of bankruptcies were predicted early. They're just not happening. We have some of them that have. The weaker companies are folding, maybe, but very few of them," he said.
Retail stocks could be a "beneficiary" of lower oil and gas prices, said trader Karen Finerman.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore.