Crude oil inventories rose again in the recent week, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday. Gasoline and distillate stocks declined.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased 3.3 million barrels in the week ended March 20. Analysts were expecting a rise of about 1.2 million barrels. At 356.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.1 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories fell last week while gasoline blending components inventories rose during this same time.

Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories rose last week by 600,000 barrels. Total commercial petroleum inventories jumped by 2.8 million barrels.

On the NYMEX, crude prices moved further away from the daily lows following the report. Light sweet crude moved to $53.07, down 91 cents on the session. Prices had hit as low as $51.86.

The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday that crude oil inventories increased by 4.57 million barrels in the recent week. Gasoline inventories fell 805,000 barrels.

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