Oil prices plunged today, following data which showed that gasoline stockpiles increased suddenly in the US, and on concerns that peak summer demand in the world’s top oil consumer may not meet expectations.

Brent crude dropped by 31 cents to $103.60 per barrel, while US crude slipped by 42 cents to $95.76, reported Reuters.

On Tuesday data released by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed an increase of 532,000 barrels in US crude stockpiles and a three million-barrel jump in gasoline inventories during the week ending 17 May.

Analysts, however, predicted crude stocks to contract 800,000 barrels and gasoline stocks to remain unchanged from a week ago.

API data raised anticipation that markets will be well supplied during the summer driving season in the US.

"Oil prices received some support due to the weakening of the dollar."

The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) is expected to release its data on inventories on Wednesday.

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By GlobalData

Oil prices received some support due to the weakening of the dollar and after two senior Federal Reserve officials ended speculation that the central bank may soon end its quantitative easing programme.

Investors will now keep a close watch on the initial purchasing managers’ indexes for May, slated to be released on Thursday, to get a better understanding of the economic revival in China, the US and the eurozone.

Image: American Petroleum Institute (API) data showed an increase of 532,000 barrels in US crude stockpiles. Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos / dan.