Oil Futures Trim Gains After Smaller-than-expected Fall In Inventory

By William L. WattsMarketWatch Pulse

Crude-oil futures trimmed gains Wednesday after U.S. government data showed crude-oil inventories declined less than expected last week. The Energy Information Administration said crude-oil inventories, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, fell by 1.68 million barrels to 453.6 million barrels. Analysts surveyed by oil-data firm Platts had forecast a fall of 1.9 million barrels. Nymex Sept. crude-oil futures were up 24 cents, or 0.6%, at $43.33 a barrel. The contract traded as high as $43.87 in earlier action.The EIA said total gasoline inventories fell by 1.3 million barrels, while distillate fuel inventories rose by 3 million barrels. The Platts survey had found analysts looking for a 1.6 million barrel fall in gasoline stocks and a 600,000 barrel rise in distillate stocks.

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