RTTNews - Crude oil dropped for a second straight day on Tuesday, but came off the lows of the day after earlier hitting below $71. Investors considered a surprise gain in weekly inventories reported by the Energy Information Administration.

Light sweet crude oil for October delivery fell to $71.43 per barrel, down 62 cents on the day. Prices had hit as low as $70.67 after hitting a 10-month intraday high of $75 yesterday.

Crude oil inventories increased by 200,000 barrels in the week ended August 21. Experts had forecast a decline in crude oil supplies of 2.7 million barrels. Inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year at 343.8 million barrels.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week. Stockpiles had been expected to fall by 1.5 million barrels. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 800,000 barrels and propane/propylene inventories increased by 900,000 barrels.

Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand is down by 0.% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand is down by 7.9% and jet fuel demand is 11.8% lower.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the American Petroleum Institute data showed crude supplies rose by 4.3 million barrels in the week ended August 21. Gasoline stocks slipped 1.8 million barrels. The EIA report is watched more closely because participation in that data is mandatory.

In economic news, the Commerce Department revealed new orders for durable goods jumped 4.9 percent in July following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in June. Economists had expected orders to increase by 3.2 percent compared to the 2.2 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.

A separate Commerce Department report showed that new home sales surged up by 9.6 percent to an annual rate of 433,00 in July from the revised June rate of 395,000. Economists had been expecting sales to edge up to 390,000 from the 384,000 originally reported for the previous month.

On Tuesday, crude dropped to $72.05, losing $2.32 on the session. Earlier, oil hit $75 for the first time since October.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com