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Oil prices tumble below $43 on reserve report

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Energy prices plunged across the board Wednesday, giving up a week of gains with unexpectedly large U.S. crude reserves suggesting demand for energy has eroded even further.

Sweet crude for February delivery tumbled 12 percent, or $5.95, to settle at $42.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the report was released.

The Energy Information Administration said inventories of commercial crude oil inventories rose 6.7 million barrels, well beyond the 1.5 million-barrel build expected by analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Analyst Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates, said it was one of the more bearish EIA reports he's seen in a while.

'This will take a lot of steam out of the geopolitical argument that this Russian-Ukraine standoff is going to disrupt supplies appreciably,' Ritterbusch said.