Oil Tumble

NEW YORK, December 4, 2008 (AFP) – Oil prices tumbled to their weakest levels in nearly four years Thursday as investors fixated on mounting signs of recession in the global economy. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude for January delivery settled at 43.67 dollars a barrel, down 3.12 dollars from Wednesday’s close. It was the lowest crude price since January 2005.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January fell 3.16 dollars to settle at 42.28 dollars on the InterContinental Exchange, also at the lowest since January 2005.

In intraday trade the New York contract fell as low as 43.51 dollars and the London contract dropped to 42.04.

Oil prices have lost more than two-thirds of their value since striking record highs above 147 dollars on July 11.

“Fears of a prolonged global recession continued to weigh on sentiment,” said Sucden analyst Nimit Khamar in London.

Investors worried about an increasingly marked decline in demand among the industrialized countries, and a slowdown in emerging countries like China.

Dismal economic data piling up in Europe and the United States was signaling the global downturn may be deep and prol