Oil prices settle at lowest point since before OPEC cut agreement

U.S. oil prices tumbled below $50 a barrel on Thursday, down about 2 percent to the lowest settlement since the day before OPEC solidified plans to cut oil production in late November.

The price decline came a day after the Energy Department reported a surge of crude in the nation’s oil storage tanks in the last week, when the U.S. commercial stockpile grew by 8.2 million barrels.

Crude prices had dropped more than 5 percent on Wednesday as traders reacted to the unexpectedly large inventory build — about four times larger than analysts had forecast.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. oil standard, dropped $1 on Thursday to $49.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.