THE Brent crude price has fallen below $40 per barrel for the first time since June amid concerns the recovery in demand seen over the summer is fading.

Brent crude sold for $39.74 per barrel in afternoon trading on Tuesday, down five per cent, $2.27/bbl, on the day.

The price fell to an 18-year low of less than $16 per barrel in April as coronavirus lockdowns led to a dramatic drop in demand.

READ MORE: Billions of barrels of crude to be left untouched off UK as coronavirus hastens peak oil

It recovered to more than $45/bbl in August after lockdown measures were eased in many countries and major exporters such as Saudi Arabia slashed production to support the market.

However, the price has been in retreat since late August as fears have mounted about a resurgence in coronavirus cases around the world.

READ MORE: North Sea downturn weighs on oil services firm

The fall in commodity prices this year has triggered a slump in the North Sea oil and gas industry.