Oil prices fell on Thursday, under pressure from rising supplies both in the United States, where inventories gained for a sixth straight week, and in Europe, where physical crude prices are nearing five-month lows.
On Wednesday, oil dropped nearly 4 percent after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories added 2.85 million barrels last week, in line with forecasts, despite a fall in imports to their lowest level since 1991.
Prices briefly came off their session lows in midday trade as the S&P 500 erased most early losses, but crude futures were testing those lows once again as U.S. crude headed into the day's settlement.
U.S. WTI crude closed down $1.12, or 2.42 percent, at $45.20 a barrel after declining 3 percent in the previous session.
Brent crude futures were down 70 cents at $48 a barrel, some 4 percent below four-week highs above $50 hit two days earlier.