Oil prices drop as demand fears rise

NEW YORK, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices fell on Wednesday for a fourth straight session, pressured by growing fears over weak demand.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery lost 2.24 U.S. dollars, or 3 percent, to settle at 72.01 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It marked the lowest front-month contract finish since Dec. 21, 2021, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Brent crude for February delivery dropped 2.18 dollars, or nearly 2.8 percent, to close at 77.17 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange, also the lowest settlement since last December.

Oil prices have been slammed recently amid anxiety that worsening macroeconomic conditions would cripple energy demand.

Wednesday's U.S. data showing a large build in U.S. gasoline and distillate fuel stocks added to fears about easing demand for fuel.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday reported that U.S. total motor gasoline inventories increased by 5.3 million barrels during the week ending Dec. 2, and distillate fuel inventories jumped by 6.2 million barrels. Analysts polled by the S&P Global Commodity Insights survey had expected the report to show increases of 2.9 million barrels for gasoline and 1.9 million barrels for distillates.

According to the EIA, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 5.2 million barrels last week.

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