Despite a record cut in production by OPEC yesterday, continued pessimism over world demand sent crude oil prices down to a near 4.5-year low. Oil prices have fallen more than 70 percent since record highs last July as economic problems cut demand. The AP reported today:

Light, sweet crude for January delivery edged up 47 cents to $40.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Europe. Earlier, it fell as low as $39.19 — a level not seen since at least July 2004.

Overnight, the contract fell $3.54 to settle at $40.06 a barrel, after touching $39.88.

Read the full AP story here.

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