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Crude oil was little changed in New York after the U.S. Energy Department said stockpiles fell more than expected last week.
Supplies dropped 5.41 million barrels to 360.7 million in the seven days ended Aug. 17, the report showed. Inventories were forecast to decline 250,000 barrels, according to the median analyst estimates.
Gasoline inventories declined 962,000 barrels to 202.7 million. The forecast was a decrease of 1.35 million barrels.
Distillate supplies, which include heating oil and diesel, rose 992,000 barrels. The forecast was a gain of 1 million.
Oil was little changed before the report on concern that storms in the Gulf of Mexico will disrupt supplies and after Japan reported a larger-than-expected trade deficit.
Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to cross the Leeward Islands today and grow into a hurricane on a path toward Florida. The U.S. National Hurricane Center’s tracking map shows the system crossing Haiti as a hurricane on Aug. 25 and striking Cuba before arriving at the edge of Florida Keys early Aug. 27.
Exports in Japan, the world’s third-largest oil consumer after the U.S. and China, fell 8.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with an estimated 2.9 percent drop, the Finance Ministry reported.
Shipments to the European Union decreased 25 percent from a year earlier, the biggest decline since October 2009, while those to China slipped 12 percent, the ministry said. The trade deficit was the biggest for any July in data going back to 1979, it said.
October futures price of U.S. light crude oil WTI (Light Sweet Crude Oil) on the NYMEX is now $ 97.22 per barrel.
October futures price of North Sea Brent crude oil mix is now $ 114.82 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange.
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