Crude-oil futures extended gains Wednesday after Energy Department data showed a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude inventories in the week ended July 31. The Energy Information Administration said U.S. commercial inventories fell by 4.4 million barrels. Analysts surveyed by oil-information firm Platts had penciled in a drop of 1.6 million barrels. Oil futures extended a gain following the data. West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery on Nymex was up 70 cents, or 1.5%, at $46.44 a barrel, after trading as high as $46.70. The EIA said total gasoline inventories fell by 800,000 barrels, while distillate fuel inventories rose by 700,000 barrels.
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