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The sell-off resumed for oil prices on both sides of the Atlantic on Monday as concerns about a stock surplus and demand weakness weighed on crude markets. ICE February Brent—the international oil marker—fell $2.67 to $53.75 a barrel in Monday trading to fresh five-and-a-half-year lows, having posted in 2014 its second-largest annual drop since records began. Meanwhile, the Nymex February West Texas approached $50 a barrel and the US benchmark dropped $2.14 to $50.55. Both reached levels last hit in May 2009.
|Oil prices fell to less than $60/barrel in mid-December 2014, reaching their lowest level in five years, bringing the cumulative fall in line with that of other commodity prices compared to their early 2011 peaks. Although low oil prices will have a marked impact on a number of oil producers, their effect on oil importers will be diffused. Yet, low oil prices offer an opportunity for energy reform.|