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Oil climbed after the U.S. Energy Department said that crude inventories unexpectedly dropped 1.16 million barrels last week.
Futures rose as much as 1.4 percent as the report showed supplies fell for the first time in five weeks as imports fell. Stockpiles were forecast to gain 2.2 million barrels, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Prices declined 2.3 percent yesterday after Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom can boost output by 25 percent immediately.
Oil imports decreased 5.6 percent to 8.22 million barrels a day in the seven days ended March 16, the report showed. Shipments have arrived at an average rate of 8.9 million barrels a day over the past year.
Gasoline inventories declined 1.21 million barrels to 226.9 million last week, the Energy Department said today. Stockpiles were forecast to slip 2 million barrels, according to the median of 11 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
Consumption of the motor fuel fell 0.4 percent to 8.38 million barrels a day in in the seven days ended March 16, the report showed. Demand was down 10 percent from a year earlier.
Supplies of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, gained 1.76 million barrels to 136.6 million. Stockpiles were estimated to fall 1.5 million barrels.
Commercially held crude inventories in China, the second- largest oil consuming country, fell 3.8 percent in February, according to a newsletter published by the official Xinhua News agency. That’s about 28 million metric tons. Supplies were down for the fourth time in five months.
Crude for May delivery climbed to $107.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil traded at $106.36 a barrel before release of the inventory report at 10:30 a.m. Prices have risen 8.7 percent this year.
Brent oil for May settlement rose 51 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $124.63 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
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