RTTNews - Crude oil rose above $61 per barrel on Wednesday, boosted by a larger-than-expected decline in crude oil inventories last week. Violence in Nigeria and a weaker dollar also lifted prices.

Light sweet crude for August delivery posted its best close in a week at $61.54 per barrel, up $2.02 for the day. Oil briefly touched as high as $62.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a drop of about 2.1 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories increased by 1.5 million barrels last week. Economists were looking for a build of about 750,000 barrels. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 600,000 barrels.

Last night, American Petroleum Institute data revealed crude oil inventories fell 1.15 million barrels, while gasoline supplies fell 69,000 barrels.

Prices also received a boost from violence worries in Nigeria. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has reportedly threatened to call off a cease-fire if the military attacks one if its camps.

The dollar fell to two-week low against both the euro and sterling on Thursday in New York as traders favored higher-yielding currencies with global stocks on the rise. The buck also dropped to its lowest level in more than a month against the Canadian loonie. Commodities often move opposite the dollar because of the hedge appeal.

On the economic front, U.S. Labor Department data showed consumer prices climbed 0.7 percent in June compared to the previous month. Economists had projected an advance of about 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the New York Fed said its general business conditions index rose to a negative 0.6 in July from a negative 9.4 in June, with a negative reading indicating a contraction in activity. Economists had been expecting a reading of negative 5.0.

In the afternoon, the minutes of the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee revealed that the Fed's GDP estimates were revised to show a smaller than expected decrease in 2009 and a bigger than expected increase in 2010.

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