US crude oil supplies down by 1.2 million barrels

Energy Department says US crude oil and gasoline supplies fell last week

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies declined last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude inventories dropped by 1.2 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 387.6 million barrels, which is 5 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1.25 million barrels for the week ended April 12, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 600,000 barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 221.7 million barrels. That's 3.6 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by 1.1 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended April 12 was 3.3 percent less than a year earlier, averaging 8.4 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 86.3 percent of total capacity on average, down 0.5 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 87.3 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, grew by 2.4 million barrels to 115.2 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 850,000 barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell $1.40 to $87.32 a barrel in New York.

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