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Oil prices slid to their lowest levels in nearly two months in afternoon trading on Wednesday after data from the US energy department showed a ninth consecutive rise in crude inventories.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped $1.91 a barrel, or more than 3.4 per cent, to $54.01 while the US marker West Texas Intermediate dropped $1.98 a barrel, or 3.7 per cent to $51.16.
Stockpiles of US crude climbed by 8.2m barrels in the week ended March 3, and have risen every week this year, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, the US energy department ‘s statistics arm.
That was well over estimates for a build of 1.3m barrels.
The data comes after Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid Al Falih said a deal among global producers to cut supply and lower stockpiles was not making as quick an impact as initially anticipated. He added that the agreement was only helping to revitalise the US shale industry.
“Nothing appears capable of dragging oil prices out of their lethargic state at present,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.