Crude oil prices dropped on Wednesday as Energy Information Administration data revealed a build in both crude oil and gasoline stockpiles. The rally took prices further away from the $55 a barrel mark challenged last week.
Light sweet crude for May delivery dropped to $48.39, down $1.27 on the session. Prices touched as low as $47.26 a day after touching as high as $50.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 3 million barrels. Total motor gasoline inventories increased 2.2 million barrels last week. A drop of about 1.5 million barrels was expected.
Distillate fuel inventories increased by 300,000 barrels, while propane/propylene inventories increased last week by 700,000 barrels.
On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 in February from a reading of 80.4 in January. The increase by the index came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the reading to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.
Automatic Data Processing's monthly report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 742,000 jobs in March following a revised decrease of 706,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected a decrease of 663,000 jobs compared to the decrease of 697,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, a Institute for Supply Management - Chicago report showed that the index of activity in the sector fell to 31.4 in March from 34.2 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting the index to edge up to a reading of 34.3.
Earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed that its market index of mortgage application volume rose 3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week of March 27th, following a 32.2 percent jump last week. The Market Composite Index was 1194.4 compared to 1159.4 in the previous week.
The U.S. dollar was mixed versus its major counterparts on Wednesday in New York. The buck retreated against pound and gained on the yen, while showing choppy movement against the euro. Commodities often move opposite the dollar because of the hedge appeal.
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