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Oil Slips as Swelling Stockpiles Alarm Already-Panicked Market

  • U.S. inventories add 1.58 million barrels; second weekly jump
  • WTI futures decline 3.3% as Treasury market signals recession
Oil tankers are anchored near the Port of Long Beach, California, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009. A surplus of idled oil tankers, which would stretch 26 miles if lined up end to end, may signal a 25 percent slump in freight rates this year. The ships will unload 26 percent of the crude and oil products they are storing in six months, adding to vessel supply and pushing rates for supertankers down to an average of $30,000 a day, compared with $40,212 now.
Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
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Oil tumbled the most in a week as global financial markets swooned and swelling U.S. crude stockpiles reinforced fears about an economic slowdown.

Futures closed down 3.3% in New York on Wednesday, joining a slide in equities that saw 98% of the stocks in the S&P 500 Index drop. American crude inventories posted a surprise increase for the second straight week, U.S. data showed. That accelerated a flight from commodities and other higher-risk assets as sagging Treasury yields sounded alarm bells for a recession.