Oil Remains Lower After Smaller-than-expected Inventory Drop

By William L. Watts Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Oil futures maintained losses Wednesday after government data showed a smaller-than-expected decline in U.S. crude inventories last week. The Energy Information Administration said oil inventories fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week ended July 28. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had produced an average forecast of a 3.1 million barrel decline, although figures from the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reportedly showed a 1.8 million barrel rise. West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange was down 40 cents, or 0.8%, at $48.74 a barrel.

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