Crude oil prices
dropped off sharply Wednesday, Dec. 22, after the U.S. Energy Department
reported an unexpected rise in inventories.
Light, sweet crude
for delivery in February plunged $1.52 a barrel to $44.24 at the close of trade
on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had traded as high as $45.95 a barrel
in the moments before the inventory report.
distillate fuels, which include heating oil, diesel and jet fuel, grew by
600,000 barrels to 119.9 million last week, compared with the median of
analysts’ predictions that supplies would tumble 1.13 million, Bloomberg
Crude oil imports
increased 1.7 percent to 10.6 million barrels a day. Forecasts of above average
temperatures in the Northeast may slow demand for heating oil.
“It was a bearish
report, and the market just collapsed,” Ed Silliere, a spokesman with Energy
Merchant LLC in New York, told Bloomberg. The increase “came as a shock
because of the high level of imports.”
inventories grew by 2.1 million barrels to 295.9 million, the highest since
July. Analysts had predicted a dip of 800,000 barrels.