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US crude oil supplies fall by 1.3 million barrels

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

Crude supplies dropped by 1.3 million barrels, or 0.4 percent, to 363.3 million barrels, which is 1.8 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a drop of 2 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 2, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies rose by 100,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, to 223.6 million barrels. That's 8.5 percent more than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by 1 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended July 26 was up 3.3 percent from a year ago, averaging over 9 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 90.9 percent of total capacity on average, down 0.4 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 91.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 500,000 barrels to 126.5 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to fall by 1 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell 52 cents to $104.78 a barrel in New York.