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Oil rises to three-month high on U.S. inventory drop

08-16-2012 06:11 BJT

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices rose on Wednesday to three-month high as U.S. crude inventories dropped more than expected last week.

The Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude inventories declined 3.7 million barrels in the week ended Aug.10, way more than expectation of 1.9-million barrels. The gasoline stocks also decreased 2.4 million barrels in the week, above estimates of 1.7 million barrels.

The big draw in crude inventories came as refineries run at a very active 92.6 percent of capacity to produce more gasoline. However, the gasoline stocks also declined, reflecting an upturn in demand.

Moreover, the unrest in the Middle East kept posing risks to production in the oil-rich region. And heavy maintenance at North Sea key fields, Brent's source, further tightened the supplies.

Hopes for central banks' coordinated moves in an effort to boost the economy also continued to offer supports to oil prices. Brazil, the second largest emerging market, was set to unveil stimulus plans to restore confidence. Investors were expecting that the U.S. and China could follow its steps and act with boosting policies.

The trading volumes were picking up, although Brent's volume was still five percent below its 30-day average and U.S. crude seven percent down from its 30-day average.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery added 90 cents, or 0. 96 percent, to settle 94.33 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest settlement since May 15.

In London, Brent crude for September delivery gained sharply 2. 22 dollars, or 1.95 percent, to close at 116.25 dollars a barrel, also the highest close since early May.

Brent premium to the U.S. crude benchmark widened to 21.92 dollars a barrel, its largest level since last October.



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Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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