US crude oil inventories, prices rise

New hurricane sends crude prices higherCrude oil prices were up slightly Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration issued its weekly inventories report, which showed that while US crude oil and distillates stockpiles were up gasoline inventories declined again last week.

Crude oil stockpiles were 9.4 million barrels higher in the week ending 15 August, much more of a gain than the 1.7 million barrels that were expected.

Distillates inventories gained less than had been expected but nevertheless added 500,000 barrels to storage last week, but gasoline stockpiles dropped another 6.2 million barrels, over twice the 3 million barrel decline that had been anticipated.

The drop in gasoline inventories came even though US demand was down 1.6 percent in the past four weeks from the same time last year.

September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude, which expired at the end of floor trade today, were up 94 cents to $115.47 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In trade earlier in the day, Nymex September gasoline added 3 cents to $2.89 per gallon while October heating oil was up 4 cents to $3.15 per gallon and October natural gas gained 2 cents to $8.10 per million British thermal units.

Prices at the pump in the United States were lower again overnight, with regular unleaded gasoline at $3.717 per gallon on average as diesel fuel dropped to $4.359 per gallon.

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