U.S. and global crude prices opened the New Year mired in a slump, led lower by uneven domestic demand and hints of global sluggishness amid intensifying expectations of recession.

After dropping Tuesday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices in the United States slid below $74/bbl in intraday trading Wednesday, down more than 4%. Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped below $80, also down about 4%.

Both had traded well above $100 at their respective peaks in the first half of 2022.

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said overall domestic demand for petroleum products for the period ended Dec. 23 climbed 9% week/week. The...