Crude oil prices hit a 19-month low, as new economic data suggests the world's major economies may be headed for a recession, cutting demand.
The price of crude oil for future delivery fell more than $4.50, to close at less than $61 a barrel during trading Thursday in New York.
Oil prices have fallen almost 60 percent since hitting a record high in July. The International Monetary Fund says the continuing decline is in line with what has been happening to the prices of other commodities.
Still, the Paris-based International Energy Agency says there is still the threat of a supply crunch, and that oil prices will rise, possibly topping $200 a barrel by 2030.
The agency advises almost 30 oil-consuming countries. It says growing demand from developing nations is a major reason oil prices will go higher.
The International Energy Agency also says the world needs to invest $26 trillion in energy infrastructure by 2030.
Oil prices began falling today after the U.S. Labor Department said the number of people getting unemployment benefits rose to a 25-year high, and that workers are no longer as productive as they were earlier this year. Investors also reacted to interest rate cuts by the Bank of England and the European Central Bank aimed at boosting economic growth.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.