The price of Brent crude oil dropped towards $48 on Thursday ahead of an expected bond buying programme announcement by the European Central Bank (ECB) later today.

Reuters reported that Brent crude futures declined 28 cents to $48.75 a barrel, while US crude dropped 50 cents to $47.28.

"The ECB’s executive board has proposed a programme that will enable it to buy €50bn of bonds a month."

A euro zone source said the ECB’s executive board has proposed a programme that will enable it to buy €50bn of bonds a month commencing in March.

The bank’s move is expected to drive the dollar to new levels and put downward pressure on commodities.

Oil prices have already dropped by more than 50% since June 2014 because of growing oversupply and weak global demand.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reduced its worldwide economic growth forecast for 2015 and analysts have warned of a dim outlook for the first half of this year, due to oversupply and rising inventories.

Reuters reported that in a formation known as a contango, the price of oil to be delivered immediately is trading below barrels for supply in the future.

Traders say Brent crude prices for delivery this March are $10 a barrel cheaper than those for the same period in 2016, forcing them to buy oil now to store and sell later.