Oil prices fell to multi-month lows today as global supply increased and investors worried about the impact on fuel demand of lower economic growth and trade disputes. 

Benchmark Brent crude fell below $70 a barrel for the first time since early April, down more than 18% since reaching four-year highs at the beginning of October. 

Brent dropped $1.52 to a low of $69.13 before recovering to around $69.55 this afternoon down 4.5% for the week and 16% this quarter. 

US light crude fell for a 10th successive day, dropping under $60 a barrel to its lowest in eight months. 

The US crude contract hit a low of $59.28, down $1.39 and off more than 20% since its peak in October. That put it in "bear market" territory, borrowing a definition used in stock markets. 

Analysts said that oil prices are being hit by the double whammy of rising supplies and demand concerns. 

Oil peaked in October on concerns that US sanctions on Iran that came into force this week would deprive the oil market of substantial volumes of crude, draining inventories and bringing shortages in some regions. 

But other big producers, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and shale companies in the US, have increased output steadily, more than compensating for lost Iranian barrels. 

The US, Russia and Saudi Arabia are pumping at or near record highs, producing more than 33 million barrels per day (bpd), a third of the world's oil. 

The US sanctions, meanwhile, are unlikely to cut supply as much as expected. Washington has granted exemptions to Iran's biggest buyers, allowing them to buy limited amounts of oil for at least another six months.

China National Petroleum Corp said it was still taking oil from Iranian fields in which it has stakes.

Washington has said it wants to force Iranian oil exports down to zero, but analysts now expect Iranian exports will average 1.4 million to 1.5 million bpd" during the exemption period, about half the volume in mid-2018.

A glut in the refining sector, where a wave of unsold petrol has pulled profit margins into negative territory, may also lead to a slowdown in new crude orders as refiners scale back operations.