U.S. Crude Oil Supplies Drop by 300,000 Barrels

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies shrank last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies fell by 300,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, to 374.1 million barrels, which is 11.8 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 500,000 barrels for the week ended Nov. 23, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHFI  ) .

Gasoline supplies grew by 3.9 million barrels, or 1.9 percent, to 204.3 million barrels. That's 2.7 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 1 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Nov. 23 was 0.3 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging 8.6 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 88.6 percent of total capacity on average, up 1.1 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to rise to 88 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, decreased by 800,000 barrels to 112 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 150,000 barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell by 86 cents to $86.32 a barrel in New York.


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