Crude falls after US data, WTI hunkers at 5-month low

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U.S. crude oil futures fell by nearly $2 on Wednesday as a higher-than-expected build in inventories weighed down prices, although Brent's losses were lessened by unrest in Libya.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed U.S. crude stocks rose by almost 3 million barrels to their highest level for this time of year since records began in 1982. The report followed data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday showed stocks rose by 6.9 million barrels last week. Analysts had expected an increase of 600,000 barrels.

The build in stocks briefly lifted U.S. crude, or West Texas Intermediate (WTI), before it resumed its downward trend, causing the contract to sink to its lowest in more than five months.

Brent crude was up 20 cents above $111 a barrel, after settling 12 cents lower. Brent hit a six-week high on Monday at $111.66 a barrel on winter supply concerns, after first dropping $3 on the Iran nuclear agreement.

U.S. oil ended the shortened trading session down $1.38 at $92.30, extending Tuesday's losses and its lowest close since June 26.

Libyan oil workers, civil servants and private sector staff went on strike in the port city of Benghazi as new clashes between the army and Islamists erupted.

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