Oil prices fell on Wednesday for a fourth straight session, pressured by growing fears over weak demand reported Xinhua.
The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery lost US$2.24 or 3%, to settle at US$72.01 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 US$2.18, or nearly 2.8%, to close at US$77.17 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 US data showing a large build in US gasoline and distillate fuel stocks added to fears about easing demand for fuel.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday reported that US 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, US commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 5.2 million barrels last week.