The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration today reported that U.S. crude inventories lopped off 1.1 million barrels to dock at 313.6 million barrels in the week ending November 16. Analysts were once again wrong, having predicted a rise of 0.8 million barrels. As a result, January crude gained half a percentage point to $98.50.

In related news, the American Petroleum Institute today reported that crude inventories gained 1.4 million barrels to land at 318 million barrels for the week ending November 16. Gasoline stocks followed suit, tacking on 2.6 million barrels to 197.9 million barrels. Distillate stocks weren't as fortunate, losing 3.6 million barrels to 132 million barrels.