NEW YORK (AP) - Oil prices tumbled more than $8 a barrel Monday, dropping below the $100 level as traders bet that global demand for petroleum products will keep falling despite a planned $700 billion U.S. financial bailout.
A stronger dollar also weighed on crude prices as investors who bought oil and other commodities as a hedge against inflation sold their contracts.
Light, sweet crude for November fell $8.24, or 7.71 percent, to $98.65 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier dropping as low as $98.76.
The contract fell Friday $1.13 to settle at $106.89. Crude has now fallen 31 percent since surging to an all-time record of $147.27 on July 11.
Monday's sell-off was tied to anxiety over the pending U.S. rescue plan. Following a week of intense negotiations, lawmakers could hold a final vote on the emergency measure Wednesday. But investors are doubtful whether the plan will be enough to unfreeze global credit markets and restore calm to the financial system.
So. The traders' confidence that we'll buy expensive oil makes them invest more, and the price goes up. The traders' belief that we won't buy expensive oil makes the price go down? Then, why not just stop buying oil until it's affordable? Use as little heating oil and gas as you can, I say.