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Crude Oil Futures Settle Modestly Lower

Crude oil futures ended lower on Wednesday, but the decline was just marginal as data from Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.

OPEC-led production cuts, the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, and disruptions in crude production in Libya due to the ongoing unrest in the country, helped limit oil's decline.

Fairly strong first quarter GDP data from China too supported oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $0.29, or 0.45%, at $63.76 a barrel.

On Tuesday, crude oil futures for May ended up $0.65, or about 1%, at $64.05 a barrel.

According to the weekly data released by the Energy Information Administration this morning, crude stockpiles in the U.S. dropped by 1.4 million barrels in the week ended April 12, slightly more than the expected fall.

The EIA data also showed a 1.17 million barrels drop in gasoline inventories last week. The fall, however, was much less than an expected decline of about 2.13 million barrels.

Meanwhile, distillate stockpiles declined by a marginal 0.36 million barrels last weak.

A report released by the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday showed that U.S. crude inventories fell by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended April 12, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 1.7 million barrels.

In economic news from China, GDP grew an annual 6.4% in the first quarter of 2019, unchanged from the fourth quarter and beating forecasts for 6.3%.

Retail sales climbed 8.7% year-on-year in March - beating expectations for an increase of 8.4% and up from 8.2%.

Fixed asset investment rose 6.3% in the first quarter, in line with expectations and up from 6.1% in the previous quarter.

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