Oil prices remained steady below $80 a barrel today after an industry report revealed that US oil inventories gained more than expected on growing imports, while distillate stockpiles declined sharply.

For April delivery, US crude remained unchanged at $79.68 a barrel by 0625 GMT, while London ICE Brent dropped 13¢ to $78.05, according to Reuters.

The front-month US contract on Tuesday hit a seven-week intra-day high of $80.95 after the euro rebounded from a nine-month low against the dollar.

The report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed a larger-than-forecast 4.1-million-barrel drop in distillate fuel supplies last week, including heating oil and diesel.

US petrol stocks rose 900,000 barrels in the week ending 26 February, according to the API report.

Asian gas oil crack spreads, the premium at which the fuel trades over crude oil, today reached their widest level in almost a year, reports Reuters.