Oil dives nearly 5% to seven-month low on surprise U.S. stock build, trade war

HOUSTON (REUTERS) -- Oil prices tumbled more than 4.5% on Wednesday to a seven-month low, extending recent heavy losses following a surprise build in U.S. crude stockpiles and fears that demand will shrink due to Washington’s escalating trade war with Beijing.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 settled down $2.71, or 4.6%, at $56.23 a barrel, the lowest close since early January. Prices have lost 24.5% since their 2019 peak in April.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 finished $2.54, or 4.7%, lower at $51.09.

Oil prices fell early in the session on worries about the trade war, then extended losses after government data showed a build of 2.4 million barrels in U.S. crude stockpiles last week, instead of the 2.8 million-barrel draw analysts had expected.

U.S. crude oil inventories had declined for seven consecutive weeks prior to last week’s build but were still about 2% above the five-year average for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

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