London, Dec 31: Oil prices fell under $40 on Wednesday, Dec 31 at the end of a tumultuous 2008 which saw prices hit record peaks before plunging to multi-year lows. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in Feb fell $1.15 to $ 39 a barrel in morning trade on London's InterContinental Exchange.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February, slid $1.19 to $37.84. Prices soared in the first half of the year on fears of supply disruptions, reaching record highs above $147 in July, before a sharp global economic downturn slashed world demand for energy and pulled prices sharply lower.
New York crude plunged earlier this month to below $33, its lowest point for almost five years.
"The market had a pretty torrid few months ... a hell of a lot of uncertainty," said Mark Pervan, senior commodities analyst at ANZ bank. With recession curbing the world's appetite for energy, prices risk slumping further in 2009, according to analysts. Pervan said he expected prices to fall a little lower in January before bottoming out in Feb and rising in March or April.
"There is no quick fix, quick recovery in the near term," said the energy market analyst.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)