U.S. Crude Oil Supplies Rise by 600,000 Barrels

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

Crude supplies increased by 600,000 barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 696 million barrels, which is 9.8 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2.5 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 8, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHFI  ) .

Gasoline supplies shrank by 800,000 barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 232.2 million barrels. That's 0.5 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to be unchanged.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Feb. 8 was 4.4 percent higher than a year ago, averaging 8.4 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 83.8 percent of total capacity on average, down 0.4 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to fall to 83.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 3.7 million barrels to 125.9 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.6 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell 13 cents to $97.38 a barrel in New York.


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