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Storm clouds gather over Shell's Pulau Bukom oil refinery in Singapore.
Reuters/Edgar Su
Storm clouds are gathering.
BUCKLE UP

Oil prices are plummeting again—and this week’s US production data isn’t even out yet

By Melvin Backman

You can’t blame OPEC for this one—their meeting ended last week. US shale producers can’t be blamed either—new data on US oil production isn’t due until tomorrow (Dec. 8). And yet oil prices are sinking again.

International benchmark Brent fell below $40 a barrel…

…while US benchmark West Texas Intermediate pierced $37 a barrel.

Both contracts are plunging to lows not seen since the recession…

…and there are fears that things could get even worse. Citi noted earlier this week that the only thing propping up oil prices were ETFs, as the so-called “smart money” in hedge funds and other asset managers moves en masse to short the commodity.

On top of that, CNBC spoke to a few analysts who are suggesting that the weather (yes, the weather), will exacerbate things even further as refined fuels create a backlog, thanks to mild weather reducing the need for heating oil and diesel fuel. Buckle up.