The American Petroleum Institute late Wednesday reported a much bigger-than-expected drop of 7.4 million barrels in U.S. crude supplies for the week ended Dec. 30, according to sources. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast a stockpile decline of 1.7 million barrels. Supply data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Thursday morning, a day late due to the New Year's Day holiday. February crude was at $53.30 a barrel in electronic trading, up from the contract’s settlement of $53.26 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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