NEW YORK -- Crude oil closed Monday at a new 22-month low, following a steady stream of negative economic news, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Light, sweet crude for December delivery settled at $54.95 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $2.09 or 3.7 percent. Nymex crude last closed lower on Jan. 29, 2007, the WSJ reported.

Brent crude on the ICE Futures exchange settled down $1.93 at $52.31 a barrel.

Oil traded in a range of $4, with prices jumping in intraday trading on stronger-than-expected U.S. industrial production data. There was also news that pirates hijacked a Saudi tanker. But that information wasn't enough to withstand downward momentum that has taken crude prices down more than $90 from their July 3 settlement record of $145.29 a barrel.

"The underlying story is the contraction in U.S. demand and the slowdown in global demand growth," Antoine Halff, deputy head of research at brokerage Newedge USA in New York, told the Wall Street Journal.

Data released Monday also showed that Japan, the world's second-largest economy and third-largest national oil consumer, slipped into recession for the first time since 2001.