New York: Oil prices plummeted on Wednesday, as the market was roiled by a surprising buildup in US crude stockpiles amid growing fears over weakening demands caused by persistent trade frictions.
Both US crude and Brent crude slumped more than one US dollar, settling nearly 3.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent lower on daily basis, the Xinhua news agency reported.
In particular, US oil benchmark at 51.68 dollars per barrel plunged over 20 per cent from its April peak to hit the lowest level since January, thus sliding into a bear market territory.
A bear market is defined as a 20 per cent decline or more in relevant benchmark readings from a recent high.
US crude oil inventories shot up by 6.8 million barrels from the previous week, the US Energy Information Administration reported.
For the week ending May 31, the stockpiles registered 483.3 million barrels, about 6 per cent above the five year average for this time of year.
The West Texas Intermediate for July delivery sank 1.8 US dollars to settle at 51.68 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for August delivery tumbled 1.34 dollars to close at 60.63 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.