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Crude Oil Holds Near $56 After Recent Losses

Crude oil futures steadied Thursday morning after big losses earlier in the week.

Traders were shocked mid-week by the size of U.S. gasoline stockpiles.

Crude inventories fell 5.6 million barrels (bbl) in the week to Dec. 1, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 3.4 million bbl. Inventories were at their lowest since October 2015.

However, gasoline stocks rose 6.8 million bbl, more than triple expectations.

This signals that demand for crude oil from refineries will plummet in the next few weeks.

A stronger U.S. dollar has also hurt oil prices. The dollar has rallied amid certainty the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.

WTI light sweet crude oil was up 20 cents at $56.20 a barrel.

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