Brent crude hit its lowest level in nearly four months on Wednesday following data showing US oil inventories rose faster than expected, frustrating Opec’s efforts to rein in the global supply glut via output cuts.

Brent, the global benchmark, fell by as much as 1.8 per cent to $50.05 a barrel – a level last seen in late November.

The drop comes after the American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday that US crude stockpiles climbed by 4.5m barrels to 533.6m last week, a bigger rise than the 2.8m forecast by analysts.

Figures due out later today from the Energy Information Administration could confirm the rise.

Oil has been pressured this month by the bump-up in US inventories to historic highs. Brent has declined by more than 11 per cent since the start of March, while West Texas Intermediate, its US counterpart, is down 12 per cent this month despite climbing 0.4 per cent higher to $47.51 a barrel today.

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