Oil prices came within pennies of their record peak on Wednesday before sliding back, as worries over demand growth overshadowed rising stockpile levels in the U.S.

U.S. light crude for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled up 18 cents to $54.77 a barrel after climbing as high as $55.65, 2 cents below the last autumn's all-time peak.

London's Brent crude rose 54 cents to $53.38 on the International Petroleum Exchange after hitting a new record of $54.30 a barrel.

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