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Oil Futures End At 7-week High On Sharp Fall In Crude Supply

Crude oil prices rose sharply on Wednesday after official data showed a much larger than expected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week ended July 5.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended up $2.60, or about 4.5%, at $60.43 a barrel, a seven-week high.

On Tuesday, WTI crude oil futures for August ended up $0.17, or 0.3%, at $57.83 a barrel, recovering from a low of $57.29 a barrel.

Data released by Energy Information Administration (EIA) this morning showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell by 9.5 million barrels in the week ended July 5, nearly five times the expected drop. That was the fourth straight weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories.

The EIA report also said that gasoline inventories were down 1.5 million barrels in the week to July 5, higher than an expected fall of 1.3 million barrels.

Meanwhile, distillate stockpiles increased by 3.7 million barrels, beating forecasts for an increase of 0.74 million barrels.

On Tuesday, a report from the American Petroleum Institute (API) said crude oil inventories in the U.S. saw a decrease of 8.129 million barrels in the week ended July 5, compared to analyst expectations of a smaller 3.081 million barrel draw.

Traders were also digesting reports from the National Hurricane Center about the possibilities of a tropical disturbance becoming a storm later on Wednesday or Thursday. Major producers have reportedly evacuated rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

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