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Oil rose after the U.S. Energy Department said that fuel stockpiles declined and as a European Central Bank official signaled the lender may act to stem the spread of the region’s debt crisis.
Futures climbed as much as 1.5 percent after the department reported that gasoline inventories fell 4.28 million barrels last week. Supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, dropped 4 million barrels. Distillate fuel inventories dropped to 131.9 million barrels, the lowest level since December 2008. Stockpiles were forecast to fall 250,000 barrels, the survey showed. Crude oil inventories rose 2.79 million barrels to 365.2 million, the department said. Supplies were forecast to increase 2 million.
Oil also gained after ECB Executive Board member Benoit Coeure suggested that the bank may restart bond purchases for Spain.
Crude oil for May delivery rose to $102.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent oil for May settlement decreased 24 cents to $119.64 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark contract was at a premium of $17.70 to New York futures. The spread narrowed $1.35 yesterday to $18.86.
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