NEW YORK, Jan. 12 -- Oil prices pulled back on Wednesday to the lowest level since Dec. 30 on an unexpected inventories increase and a stronger U.S. dollar.
According to the Energy Information Agency of the Energy Department, crude inventories rose 4.96 million barrels to 334.6 million barrels last week, the highest level since the week ending Dec. 2. What's more, the gain was almost five times as more as analysts had expected.
In the same period of time, gasoline supplies climbed 3.61 million barrels to 223.8 million, the highest level since March, as demand for the fuel tumbled 4.4 percent to 8.18 million barrels a day, the lowest level since February 2003.
Also adding to pressures, data showed German gross domestic product decreased by about 0.25 percent in the fourth quarter, pushing euro lower against the dollar. A stronger dollar was negative to oil prices as it made oil less appealing to investors holding other currencies.
As of Wednesday's close, light, sweet crude for February delivery dropped 1.37 dollars, or 1.34 percent, to settle at 100. 87 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude for February delivery also declined and last traded over 112 dollars a barrel.