Oil below $50 for first time in more than 3 years

Oil prices sank under $50 a barrel in London this afternoon, reaching the lowest levels for three and a half years, as the market reacted to weak energy demand.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January tumbled to $48.54 a barrel – last reached in May 2005.

The economic slowdown has seeriously dampened fuel demand and oil companies face the prospect of storing millions of barrels of unwanted oil.

Shipping brokers said today that US oil trader Koch and Royal Dutch Shell had booked super tankers capable of storing eight million barrels of crude.

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