Oil futures ended sharply higher Wednesday, boosted by a large drop in crude inventories. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery rose $1.36, or 3.8%, to end at $37.50 a barrel. Oil extended early gains after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 18. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a rise of 600,000 barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said late Tuesday that inventories had dropped by 3.6 million barrels.
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