NEW YORK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday, with U.S. crude approaching $80 a barrel after data showed a second big jump in weekly U.S. crude stockpiles.
Oil had a brief period of tentative consolidation in choppy morning trade. Then prices fell steadily throughout the afternoon as dealers absorbed data showing U.S. crude inventories rose much more than expected in the latest week.
The rising U.S. dollar and falling equity markets also pressured oil.
Brent December crude fell $1.51 to settle at $84.71 a barrel. Brent has been slumping for nearly four months and last week touched a four-year low of $82.60.
U.S. crude fell $1.97 or 2.5 percent to settle at $80.52 a barrel, just above the session low of $80.28.
The Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose by 7.11 million barrels, more than double the 2.7 million-barrel increase analysts expected. Refiners reduced runs amid seasonal maintenance. Midwest plants were running at their lowest mid-October rates in at least four years.
"The large crude oil build is the dominant feature of the report, making it bearish overall," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
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