RTTNews - Crude oil inventories fell by more than expected in the recent week, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, gasoline stockpiles rose as expected.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 3.7 million barrels from the previous week. Experts predicted a decline of about 2.2 million barrels. At 350.2 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year.

However, crude oil prices fell off their highs of the day as the build was not as sharp as the one shown by the American Petroleum Institute yesterday afternoon. Light sweet crude for August rose to $70.49, up 60 cents for the session. Prices had touched as high as $71.85 before the data was revealed.

API data showed crude stockpiles declined 6.8 million barrels. Participation in the API data is voluntary, but mandatory for the EIA report.

Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 2.3 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range. A build of 2.1 million barrels was forecast. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.9 million barrels.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period has averaged 18.4 million barrels per day, down by 5.8 percent compared to the similar period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand is up by 0.9%, distillate fuel demand is down by 9.4 percent from the same period last year and jet fuel demand is 13.2 percent lower.

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