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Brent falls to two-week low after inventory shock

TOKYO: prices fell on Wednesday for a second straight day, with Brent hitting its lowest in two weeks after official figures showed a surprise jump in U.S. inventories of crude.

Brent crude dropped $1.36, or 1.6%, to $83.22 a barrel by 0130 GMT, a two-week low, having declined by 2.1% in the previous session.

U.S. oil fell $1.28, or 1.6%, to $81.38 a barrel, a one-week low, after dropping 2.4% on Wednesday.

Crude stocks rose by 4.3 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Department said, more than double the 1.9 million-barrel gain forecast by analysts.

The “hefty” stock build came “on the back of a large jump in net imports of crude oil and still sluggish refinery processing,” Citi Research commodities analysts said in a note.

Still, gasoline stocks fell by 2 million barrels to the lowest in nearly four years, even as U.S. consumers struggle with rising prices to fill their tanks. [EIA/S]

At the WTI delivery hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, crude storage is the most depleted in three years, with prices for longer-dated futures contracts indicating supplies will stay low for months.

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