REUTERS

Oil prices tumbled up to 5% on Wednesday to a fresh seven-month low, extending recent heavy losses following an unexpected build in U.S. crude stockpiles and fears of lower crude demand due to deepening U.S.-China trade tensions.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down $2.38, or 4%, at $56.56 a barrel by 10:36 a.m. CDT (1536 GMT), setting a fresh seven-month low. Prices have lost more than 20% since hitting their 2019 peak in April, Reuters said.

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U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were down $2.66, or 5%, at $50.97.

Oil extended losses after government data showed U.S. crude stockpiles rose last week by 2.4 million barrels. Analysts had expected a decrease of 2.8 million barrels. At 438.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are about 2% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Gasoline inventories rose by 4.4 million barrels, with U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline stocks hitting the highest on record for this time of year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed.

Brent has plunged more than 12% after U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he would slap a 10% tariff on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports from Sept. 1, sending global equity markets into a tailspin.