U.S. crude futures and global benchmark Brent hit their lowest levels since 2017 during the session, putting both benchmarks on track for losses of about 40 per cent in the fourth quarter. Investors have flocked to safe-haven assets such as gold and government debt at the expense of crude oil and stocks.
Brent fell 11 percent last week and hit its lowest since September 2017, while US futures post its worst weekly performance in almost three years. "They're pricing in a slowdown in the economy if not a recession with this drop".
"We have such a risk-off appetite in the broader markets that crude's only getting swept up in that sentiment as well", Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, told MarketWatch.
Crude oil prices have declined since October on concern that the market may be oversupplied in a context where production in the United States, which earlier this year became the biggest producer in the world, is seeing a fast expansion.
The boom in USA shale output has boosted the country into the top producer spot over traditional suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude ended Friday's trading session down 29 cents, to $45.59 - the lowest closing price since January 2016.
"If the production cuts of 1.2 million barrels a day is not enough, we will meet again to see what is enough and apply it", he said.
Another concern for oil producers is the weakening macroeconomic picture and its impact on oil demand. Total volume traded Monday was about 42 percent below the 100-day average ahead of the Christmas holiday Tuesday.
Qatar's energy minister said it was a hard period for oil prices.
China also resumed crude imports from the US after a halt in October as the trade conflict between the two countries showed signs of thawing.
Officials from Iraq, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates agreed with Saudi Arabia's expectation that the group, along with Russian Federation and other oil producers, will extend the agreement for another six months.