December 6, 2012 4:00 PM, EST
Oil Falls to Three-Week Low
Frank Polich/Bloomberg News

Oil fell more than $1 to a three-week low near $86 a barrel Thursday following a reduced growth forecast by Europe’s central bank and concern over stalled U.S. budget negotiations, Bloomberg reported.

Crude futures fell $1.62 to finish the trading day at $86.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest Nymex closing price since Nov. 15.

The decline also followed a Department of Energy report Wednesday that showed big increases in gasoline and distillate inventories last week.

Gasoline inventories jumped 7.9 million barrels last week, the biggest increase in more than 11 years, DOE said in its weekly inventory report.

Analysts had forecast a 1.6-million barrel increase, Bloomberg said. Demand slipped for a third week as refineries ran at their highest output rate since August.

Distillate fuel supplies, which include diesel, rose by 3 million barrels, more than triple the 850,000-barrel increase forecast.

Crude inventories slipped 2.4 million barrels, a bigger drop than analysts’ projected 500,000-barrel decline, Bloomberg reported.