Oil prices slid Tuesday, approaching seven-year low points on a global supply glut and weak demand growth.
Crude futures had already slumped Monday after the OPEC oil producers cartel last week refused to slash record high output, in a market dogged by oversupply.
A stubborn supply glut, and weak demand growth fuelled by China's economic slowdown, have combined to send crude prices slumping more than 60 percent over the past 18 months from levels above $100 a barrel.
In Tuesday trading, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in January hit a near seven-year low at $37.20 a barrel.
Later at around 1300 GMT, WTI traded at $37.30 a barrel -- down 35 cents compared with Monday's close.
Brent North Sea crude for January also hit the lowest point since February 2009, at $40.41 a barrel.
It later traded at $40.46, down 27 cents.
Markets were meanwhile awaiting the release Wednesday of US commercial crude stockpiles data, which will help gauge demand in the world's top oil consumer.
A Bloomberg News survey estimated inventories probably rose for an 11th week, indicating softer demand.
Traders are looking ahead also to a meeting of the US central bank's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) next week, amid expectations that it will announce its first interest rate hike in more than nine years.
An interest rate increase typically boosts the dollar, which would make dollar-priced oil more expensive to holders of weaker currencies.
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