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Crude Oil Ends Sharply Lower As US Stockpile Jumps

U.S. crude oil futures settled sharply lower Wednesday, after an Energy Information Administration report showed U.S. oil stockpiles to have jumped more than expected for the week ended April 13. Oil prices at a one-week low were impacted by a strengthening dollar, while some disappointing earnings at U.S. equity markets also proved a dampener for the commodity.

Oil prices ticked lower after an EIA report revealed that US crude oil inventories jumped 3.90 million barrels, while gasoline stocks shed 3.70 million barrels in the week ended April 13. Analysts expected crude oil inventories to add 400,000 barrels and gasoline stocks to move up by 140,000 barrels last week.

Light Sweet Crude Oil futures for May delivery, dropped $1.53 or 1.5 percent to close at $102.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Wednesday.

Crude prices scaled a high of $104.51 a barrel intraday and a low of $102.19.

Yesterday, oil ended at a 2-week high on global cues, with some encouraging economic data that showed economic sentiment in Germany improved for the fifth straight month, while Spain's treasury bill auction saw strong demand although at a higher cost.

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. unit against six major currencies, traded at 79.589 on Wednesday, up from 79.561 in North American trade late Tuesday. The dollar scaled a high of 79.86 intraday, with a low of 79.49.

The euro was trading lower against the dollar at $$1.3115 on Wednesday, as compared to $1.3127 late Tuesday. The euro scaled a high of $1.3141 intraday with a low of $1.3060.

In economic news, the eurozone current account unexpectedly logged a seasonally adjusted deficit of 1.3 billion euros in February, the European Central Bank said. Economists were expecting the surplus to fall to 2 billion euros from 3.7 billion euros surplus in January.

Meanwhile, Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee decided to maintain the size of the asset purchase program at GBP 325 billion through a split vote as one member called for an increase in stimulus, minutes of the meeting showed today.

by RTT Staff Writer

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