Oil prices closed below 30 US dollars a barrel for the first time since 2003 in New York trade today, as markets girded for exporter Iran's return after nuclear sanctions are lifted. The New York benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery, finished at 29.42 US dollars a barrel, down 1.78 US dollars the previous day, but above its low of 29.13 US dollars. 
The steep drop came on the back of key oil importer China's economic slowdown and expectations that Iran will quickly begin exporting large amounts of crude when nuclear sanctions are removed, possibly early next week.

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