| GEO Business|
| Oil falls to $82 on high U.S. stockpiles|
| Updated at: 0841 PST, Wednesday, May 05, 2010|
SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell toward $82 a barrel on Wednesday, extending the steepest one-day percentage loss in three months in the previous session, on rising oil inventories and a firm dollar.
The dollar surged to fresh one-year highs against the euro on Wednesday, as a sell-off in the euro gathered momentum, with sentiment decidedly bearish as fears about contagion in the euro zone gripped investors. The dollar rose 0.27 percent against a basket of currencies.
NYMEX crude for June delivery fell 37 cents to $82.37 a barrel by 0215 GMT.
The contract dropped $3.45, or 4 percent, to settle at $82.74 a barrel on Tuesday. In post-settlement trading, it ended electronic trading at $82.07, down $4.15 or 4.78 percent, the largest one-day percentage loss since the 4.99 percent slide on February 4.
London Brent crude slid 45 cents to $85.22 a barrel.
"The main influences now are the rise in the dollar, the sovereign concerns in the euro zone spreading into Portugal and Spain. I think a pretty important factor though going forward is that build in oil stocks in the United States," said Ben Westmore, an analyst at National Australia Bank.
"The price at those low $80s per barrel sort of mark is consistent with the market fundamental alone. I would expect oil price to track around low $80s for the rest of the week."
Crude oil inventories at the key storage hub at Cushing, Oklahoma, rose by 1.7 million barrels to a record high of 36.3 million barrels, according to data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API).
Overall, U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 3 million barrels in the week to April 30, API data showed, versus analyst expectations of a 1.1 million barrel rise in the latest poll by a UK-based news agency.
Gasoline stocks rose by 1.5 million barrels last week, more than the expected rise of 200,000 barrels, according to analyst estimates.
Distillates including heating oil and diesel rose by 1.4 million barrels, versus expectations of a 1.7 million barrel rise.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's report is set to arrive on Wednesday at 1400 GMT.
Crude oil prices have not been seriously impacted so far from a giant oil spill off the U.S. Gulf Coast.
A flotilla of nearly 200 boats tackled a massive oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, taking advantage of calm weather to intensify containment efforts while a scientist warned that a powerful current could carry the crude to Miami and points beyond.