Oil prices slid to below $82 a barrel after reaching an eight-week high yesterday.

For April, US crude declined 40¢ to $81.47 a barrel at 12am EST, while London ICE Brent fell 42¢ to $80.05, according to Reuters.

A Reuters poll showed that OPEC is likely to keep oil production targets on hold when it meets in Vienna on 17 March, but that it may raise output later this year as the global economy recovers, pushing up demand for fuel.

US crude inventories gained 1.9 million barrels in the week to 5 March, while petrol stockpiles increased by 300,000 barrels, according to the poll.

Distillates were expected to have dropped 900,000 barrels because of lingering winter weather conditions in the US northeast, the biggest heating market.