Crude oil prices fell below $78 a barrel today after the US Federal Reserve raised an emergency lending rate after higher-than-expected crude inventories in the US.

For March delivery, US crude fell $1.20 to $77.86 a barrel at 0744 GMT. London Brent crude for April declined $1.16 to $76.62 a barrel, according to Reuters.

Crude stocks rose 3.1 million barrels against a projection for a 2.2 million barrel increase to 334.5 million barrels in the week ended 12 February.

Petrol stocks were up 1.7 million barrels, but distillates fell 2.9 million barrels.

The Federal Reserve’s move to increase the discount rate to 0.75% from 0.50% for improvement in financial market conditions also drove down US stock futures, gold and other commodities.