RTTNews - Oil prices finished a choppy session modestly higher on Wednesday in U.S. trading as investors mulled the Energy Information Administration inventories report. Oil gained strength in the afternoon as the dollar gave back some early gains.

Light sweet crude oil ended the day at $71.03, up 56 cents on the session. Oil touched as low as $69.00 after earlier hitting as high as $71.28.

Crude oil inventories decreased by 3.9 million barrels in the week ended June 12. Economists were looking for a decline of about 1.7 million barrels. At 357.7 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain above the upper boundary of the average range for this time of year.

However, motor gasoline inventories increased by 3.4 million barrels last week. Experts were looking for a build of about 650,000.

Oil turned to the upside in the afternoon as the the dollar weakened against the euro in, moving further away from the 3 1/2-week high it reached yesterday. The greenback also backed off an eight-day high against the pound.

Investors mulled over the Obama administration's financial reform proposals. Seeking to prevent a recurrence of the recent financial meltdown, Obama laid out a sweeping agenda for regulatory reform. The president proposed granting the Federal Reserve the authority to scrutinize firms that are large enough to pose a systemic risk to the financial markets.

On the economic front, Labor Department data showed that consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent in May after coming in unchanged in April. Economists had been expecting a somewhat more substantial increase in prices of about 0.3 percent.

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