AP News

US crude inventories increase to 359.1M barrels

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's oil inventories rose last week, the government said Wednesday.

Commercial crude supplies increased by 2 million barrels, or 0.6 percentage point, to 359.1 million barrels for the week that ended Sept. 7, the Energy Information Administration reported. The total was 3.7 percent more than year-ago levels.

Analysts had expected oil stockpiles to fall by 3.3 million barrels, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 1.2 million barrels, or 0.6 percentage point, to 197.7 million barrels. That's 6.2 percent less than year-ago levels. Analysts predicted a drop of 2.3 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks that ended Sept. 7 averaged 9 million barrels per day, down 0.1 percentage point from a year ago.

Refineries ran at 84.7 percent of capacity, which was 1.4 percent less than the prior week. Analysts expected capacity at 86.6 percent.

Stockpiles of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, increased by 1.5 million barrels, or 1.2 percent, to 128.6 million barrels, the agency said in its weekly report. The total was 18.9 percent lower than year-ago levels. Analysts had forecast supplies to decline by 1.5 million barrels.

Benchmark crude fell 14 cents to $97.03 per barrel in New York.

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