World oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday following recent gains after figures showed a much larger-than-expected increase in crude inventories in top global consumer the United States.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in May lost $1.42 to $102.78 while Brent North Sea crude for June dropped $1.70 to $117.08 per barrel in late London trade.
US figures showed crude stocks jumped by 3.9 million barrels last week, more than four times the expected gain of 900,000 barrels.
Stocks of distillates such as heating oil and fuels, however, fell 2.9 million barrels, compared with forecasts for a fall of 300,000 barrels.
Petrol (gasoline) stocks fell sharply by 3.7 million barrels compared to a forecast for a drop of 1.0 million barrels.
Oil prices rose on Tuesday in the wake of a successful Spanish bond auction, encouraging US corporate earnings and the IMF's raised growth forecasts for the global economy.
Investor attention will now switch to a crucial auction of longer-term 10-year Spanish government debt on Thursday.
The IMF on Tuesday raised its global growth forecast to 3.5 percent for this year, up from a January estimate of 3.3 percent.
It also predicted that the US economy -- the world's biggest -- would grow this year by 2.1 percent, up 0.3 percentage points from its previous January estimate.
Source: AFP Global Edition