Oil futures extended sharp losses Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose in the week ended Dec. 25. U.S. stockpiles, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 2.6 million barrels, the agency said. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a decline of 1 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange extended already steep declines, with the February contract down $1.32, or 3.5%, at $36.55 a barrel after dipping as low as $36.40.
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