Traders noted the oil price drop came despite reports of increased Mideast geopolitical tensions. Brent futures fell $2.03, or 2.8%, to settle at $70.38 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $2.41, or 3.4%, to settle at $68.15. That was the lowest close for both benchmarks since July 20.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said crude stockpiles rose by an unexpected 3.6 million barrels last week, while gasoline inventories fell by a bigger-than-forecast 5.3 million barrels. The United States and China, the world's two biggest oil consumers, are grappling with rapidly spreading outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta variant that analysts anticipate will limit fuel demand at a time when it traditionally rises in both countries. The virus is putting economic recovery to a halt, decreasing the oil demand.
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