World oil prices have fallen sharply following recent gains after figures showed a much larger-than-expected increase in crude inventories in top global consumer the United States.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for delivery in May, lost $US1.53 to close at $US102.67 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for June dropped 81 US cents to $US117.97 a barrel in London.
US government figures showed crude stocks jumped by 3.9 million barrels last week, more than four times the expected gain of 900,000 barrels.
Stocks of distillates such as heating oil and diesel fuel, however, fell by 2.9 million barrels, compared with forecasts for a fall of 300,000 barrels.
Gasoline stocks fell sharply by 3.7 million barrels compared with a forecast for a drop of 1.0 million barrels.
Oil prices rose on Tuesday in the wake of a successful Spanish bond auction, encouraging US corporate earnings and the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) raised growth forecasts for the global economy.
Investor attention will now switch to a crucial auction of longer-term 10-year Spanish government debt on Thursday.
The IMF on Tuesday raised its global growth forecast to 3.5 per cent for this year, up from a January estimate of 3.3 per cent.
It also predicted that the US economy - the world's biggest - would grow this year by 2.1 per cent, up 0.3 percentage points from its previous January estimate.
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