Oil prices finished sharply lower Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a larger-than-expected climb in crude stockpiles.

Late Wednesday morning, EIA indicated that domestic crude supplies grew by 2.26 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 16. Stockpiles had been expected to fall by 2.3 million barrels, according to a survey of 13 analysts and traders by The Wall Street Journal.

The unexpected rise and a conflicting report late Tuesday that showed a large decline, resulted in prices for crude-oil futures sinking after trading in positive territory earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude-oil futures for delivery in February CLG7, -0.42%   fell 81 cents, or 1.5%, at $52.49 a barrel, breaking a string of three straight positive sessions.

Meanwhile, February Brent crude LCOG7, -0.44%   on London’s ICE Futures exchange declined 89 cents, or 1.6%, to $54.46 a barrel.

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