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US oil supplies drop sharply for second week

July 10, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The United States’s crude oil supplies fell last week, the second straight week with a significant decline.

The government said Wednesday that crude supplies declined by 9.9 million barrels, or 2.6 percent. At 373.9 million barrels, the nation’s oil supplies are 1.1 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a decrease of 3.8 million barrels for the week ended July 5, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies shrank by 2.6 million barrels, or 1.2 percent, to 221 million barrels. That’s 6.4 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to rise by 1.2 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended July 5 was up 2.5 percent compared with a year earlier, averaging 9.1 million barrels a day.

In the past two weeks, oil supplies have dropped 20.2 million barrels, while gasoline supplies have fallen 4.3 million barrels.

U.S. refineries ran at 92.4 percent of total capacity on average, up 0.2 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 92.5 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 3 million barrels to 123.8 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to increase by 1.4 million barrels.

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