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Oil dropped for the first time in four days after the U.S. Energy Department said inventories climbed the most in 20 months and as Western nations considered releasing crude from strategic reserves.
Futures declined as much as 2.5 percent after the department said supplies gained 7.1 million barrels to 353.4 million last week, the largest increase since July 2010. French Industry Minister Eric Besson said the U.S. proposed releasing oil from strategic reserves, and a White House official said no decision has been made.
Crude oil for May delivery fell to $104.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil traded at $105.30 before release of the inventory report. The price is up 6.3 percent this year.
Brent oil for May settlement dropped $1.63, or 1.3 percent, to $123.91 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract’s premium to West Texas Intermediate crude traded in New York was at $18.86, up from $18.21 yesterday. Brent is up 15 percent in 2012.
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