Oil prices held above $80 a barrel today as a rise in US oil inventories indicated demand was slow to pick up, while Europe’s fiscal troubles continued to dampen growth.

For May delivery, US crude declined 13¢ to $80.48 a barrel at 0510 GMT, while London Brent dropped 16¢ to $79.46, according to Reuters.

The Energy Information Administration report showed commercial crude oil stockpiles surged by 7.3 million barrels to 351.3 million barrels in the week beginning 19 March.

The petrol stockpiles fell by 2.7 million barrels and distillates shed 2.4 million barrels, falling for an eighth consecutive week.

US oil consumption increased by 3.6% last week, while demand in Europe dropped by 1.55 million bpd from its previous year.

Oil prices are expected to be within a range between $78 and $82 unless the dollar increases.

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