Crude prices have plunged over the last five weeks, buffeted by October's broader market slump, signs of deteriorating demand and rising output from key producers. Image Credit: AFP, Agencies

Highlights

  • Oil enters bear market territory after rapid one-month decline
  • WTI, US crude index, falls more than 20% from its four-year high last month, putting the contract in bear market territory.
  • U.S. oil output is predicted to break through 12 million barrels per day by mid-2019.
  • China's October crude imports hit a record 9.61 million barrels per day.

US oil prices dropped for a ninth consecutive session on Thursday, falling into a bear market, on further signs of growing supply even as data showed record Chinese oil imports.

Brent crude price on Thursday Image Credit: oilprice.com

Crude prices have plunged over the last five weeks, buffeted by October's broader market slump, signs of deteriorating demand and rising output from key producers.

The decline continued earlier this week after the Trump administration announced it would issue waivers to eight countries, allowing them to continue importing Iranian crude. The United States restored sanctions on Iran's energy, banking and shipping industries on Monday. Image Credit: oilprice.com

The decline continued earlier this week after the Trump administration announced it would issue waivers to eight countries, allowing them to continue importing Iranian crude. The United States restored sanctions on Iran's energy, banking and shipping industries on Monday.

"I think the market is grappling with some fundamental uncertainties. We don't know if we are oversupplied or undersupplied," Tamar Essner, director of energy and utilities at Nasdaq Corporate Solutions, told CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange" on Thursday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $1.09, or 1.8 percent, to $60.58 by 12:30 p.m. ET. That is down more than 21 percent from last month's four-year high of $76.90, putting WTI in bear market territory.