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NEW YORK: Oil prices tumbled by more than 4% on Wednesday following reports that Russia may lift its diesel ban in coming days and US government data that indicated weak demand for gasoline. Brent crude oil futures were down $3.88, or 4.3%, to $87.04 a barrel at 12:52 p.m. EDT (1752 GMT).

US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) fell $3.87, or 4.3%, to $85.36. At their session low, both benchmarks were down by more than $4, and heating oil and gasoline futures fell by 5%.

US nationwide crude stocks fell by 2.2 million barrels to 414.1 million barrels in the week to Sept. 29, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported, but stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the WTI delivery hub, rose for the first time in eight weeks.

Gasoline stocks rose by 6.5 million barrels, far exceeding expectations of a 200,000-barrel rise. Finished motor gasoline supplied fell to about 8 million bpd, its lowest since the start of this year.

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