NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Oil slumped on Wednesday, with U.S. crude prices at near six-year lows, after the government reported record-high inventories in the United States that raised anxieties about the global oil glut that had pressured the market since last summer.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said domestic crude oil stocks rose by almost 9 million barrels last week to reach nearly 407 million, their highest since the government began keeping records in 1982.
A Reuters poll on Tuesday had forecast a build of just above 4 million barrels for the week to Jan. 23. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, had estimated a far bigger growth of nearly 13 million barrels.
Oil prices, lifted by a weaker dollar in the previous session, tumbled anew on the stockpile data.
U.S. crude's front-month contract settled down $1.78, or almost 4 percent, at $44.45 a barrel. It sank to as low as $44.08 before the close, marking a bottom since April 2009. Open interest in the front-month remained near record highs for a fifth straight day, according to Reuters data.
Benchmark Brent crude closed down $1.13, or 2.3 percent, at $48.47, after a session low at $48.29.
The spread between the two crude oils <CL-LCO1=R> was its largest in a month, with Brent fetching a premium of about $4 a barrel due to the weaker fundamentals in U.S. crude.
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