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US energy Stockpiles Down Making Crude Price Even Higher

The U.S. commercial inventories of crude oil and refined products declined

The U.S. commercial inventories of crude oil and refined products declined in the week ended April 14, the Energy Department reported Wednesday in its weekly nationwide survey.

The oil inventories fell by 800,000 barrels last week to 345.2 million barrels, or 7 percent higher than a year ago. That defied analysts who were expecting an increase of 2.3 million barrels.

Gasoline stockpiles plunged 5.4 million barrels last week to 202.5 million, or 4.6 percent below year ago levels. The drop was much sharper than the decline of 2.2 million barrels that analysts had been expecting.

At the same time, supplies of distillates, which are used to make heating oil and diesel, fell last week by 2.8 million barrels to 114.6 million, or 9.6 percent higher than last year. The decrease was also bigger than the forecast drop of 1.4 million barrels.

The figures for commercial crude oil inventories do not includethe U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which currently holds crude oil of about 700 million barrels.

The Energy Department report also showed that average daily gasoline demand since the start of the year is up 0.9 percent, compared with a rise of 1.4 percent during the same period in 2005.

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