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Crude Ends Higher Despite Stockpile Increase

U.S. crude oil futures closed higher Wednesday, notwithstanding a more-than-expected increase in U.S. oil stockpiles for the week ended April 6. Oil prices, however, found some support on a weak dollar and a rebound in U.S. and global equity markets.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) report for week ended April 6 showed crude oil inventories increased by 2.8 million barrels, which was more than analysts expectations of 1.8 million barrels rise in the week. However, gasoline inventories declined 4.3 million, while analysts anticipated supplies to decline 1.25 million barrels.

Yesterday, an American Petroleum Institute report showed US crude oil inventories increased by 6.60 million barrels and gasoline stocks up by 1.18 million barrels for the week ended April 6.

Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for May delivery, gained $1.68 or 1.7 percent to close at $102.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.

Crude prices scaled a high of $103.13 a barrel intraday and a low of $100.84.

Yesterday, oil extended losses to settle lower on demand concerns as trade data from China showed imports had dropped in the second largest economy in the world and on a strong dollar.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.78 on Wednesday, down from 79.86 in North American trade late Tuesday. The dollar scaled a high of 79.95 intraday, with a low of 79.51.

The euro was trading higher against the dollar at $1.3097 on Wednesday, as compared to $1.3081 late Tuesday. The euro had scaled a high of $1.3157 intraday with a low of $1.3068.

Concerns over the eurozone debt problems eased somewhat after comments by a European Central Bank member refueled speculation that the bank renew its bond-buying program. As well, yields on Italian government bonds declined from yesterday's high levels.

In economic news, figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Labor showed prices of goods imported into the country surged in March, driven mainly by higher prices in both the fuel and non-fuel sectors. Overall import prices in March increased 1.3 percent, the largest monthly rise since April 2011. Most economists expected the increase to come in at 1 percent.

From the eurozone, Germany's wholesale price inflation slowed for the second consecutive month in March, data from the Federal Statistical Office showed. The wholesale price index increased 2.2 percent on an annual basis in March, slower than the 2.6 percent growth seen in February. In January and December, the index rose 3 percent each.

by RTT Staff Writer

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