(QHA) -

ICE January Brent — the international oil benchmark — dropped $1.45 to $59.61.

Oil prices have now nearly halved since June as a result of waning demand and increased supplies.

The latest fall was triggered by news of a fall in industrial activity in China, the world's second largest consumer of oil.

The sudden decrease in prices also stems from the refusal of some members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), particularly Saudi Arabia and some other Persian Gulf monarchies, to cut their current output.

At its 166th ministerial meeting held in the Austrian capital of Vienna on November 27, OPEC “decided to maintain the production level of 30 million barrels per day,” where it has stood for three years.