Oil prices continued their long decline on Monday morning.
Of the two major pricing benchmarks, Brent crude dipped below $70 per barrel and WTI plummeted below $66 per barrel in the early morning — closer to 9 a.m., the price declines appeared to have leveled out.
Image via NASDAQ
The price of a barrel of oil has basically been cut in half since this summer, when prices soared to nearly $115 per barrel.
Plummeting prices could handicap the American shale oil boom — two major shale U.S. basins have already been rendered unprofitable, since drilling in the rock is an expensive undertaking — as well as crippling nations including Russia and Venezuela which rely on oil exports.
Yet last week, OPEC failed to agree on production cuts to buoy prices, so for the foreseeable future, oil prices may continue to drop.
Canadian oil mogul Murray Edwards predicted oil could go as low as $30 per barrel — bring the price down to 1/4 of its summertime high.
Oil projects may suffer as a result, but the broader news for the global economy is positive: As Business Insider noted, Oxford Economics estimated that if oil prices stayed around$60 per barrel throughout 2016, it would boost American and Chinese GDP growth by 0.4 percentage points and give Japan and the eurozone a positive 0.2 percentage point nudge.
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter