Oil prices extend slide as markets open

Crude oil continued its slide when trading opened this week, extending its five-year rout on oil's freefall raises fears over the strength of the global economy.

The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil sank 2.1 per cent to US$56.62 a barrel by 8:18 a.m. in Tokyo, dropping for a fourth straight day as Brent crude fell 1.6 per cent, Bloomberg News reported on Monday morning.

US stocks plunged again on Friday with Wall Street capping off one of its worst weeks of the year as tumbling oil prices spooked markets, with more than US$1.2 trillion erased from global equities over the last five days.

Oil prices have tumbled by 46 per cent since June as U.S. shale producers contribute to a global glut amid forecasts of falling demand.

"For weeks, policy makers of net oil-importing countries have been rejoicing at the effective income tax cut for consumers from a fall in oil," Raiko Shareef, a markets strategist in Wellington at Bank of New Zealand Ltd., wrote in a client note on Monday, Bloomberg reported. "Investors now appear concerned that the failure of oil prices to find a bottom is a symptom of chronically weak global demand."