World Bulletin / News Desk
Crude oil prices fell more than 4.5 percent in the past two days with a surprise increase in U.S. crude oil inventories and Russia and Saudi Arabia signaling they could ease their production limit agreement.
International benchmark Brent crude fell to as low as $76.02 per barrel on Friday, after closing Wednesday at $76.69 a barrel, posting a 4.6 percent decline.
After closing Wednesday at $71.84 a barrel, American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined to as much as $67.50 per barrel on Friday -- a 6 percent loss.
U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories showed a surprise weekly rise on Wednesday, against the market expectation of a decrease, triggering a decline in crude prices.
On Thursday, Brent fell 1.1 percent, while WTI lost 1.6 percent.
The selloff continued on Friday as Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Saudi counterpart Khalid Al-Falih met in St. Petersburg and hinted that both countries could ease the production cut agreement that began to be implemented in January 2017.
The two countries could gradually increase their crude production levels in order to compensate for falling oil output in the global market stemming from Venezuela and possibly Iran if U.S. sanctions are reimplemented.
The year-over-year increase in consumer prices was the largest since September 2011 and follows a 2.5 percent rise in June of this year. Analysts had expected it to remain flat.
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