US Crude Supply Fall Surprises; Oil Reclaims $94

From Market Watch

By Myra P. Saefong and V. Phani Kumar

An unexpected fall in the past week’s U.S. crude inventories helped oil-futures prices settle higher Wednesday, as OPEC left its 2013 global oil demand growth estimate unchanged and confirmed a significant production cut by Saudi Arabia last month.

Light, sweet crude-oil futures for delivery in February CLG3 +0.92% climbed 96 cents, or 1%, to settle at $94.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices, which lost 86 cents on Tuesday, had been trading around $93.52 before the latest supply data.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday a 1 million-barrel decline in crude supplies for the week ended Jan. 11. Analysts polled by Platts expected a 2.5 million-barrel climb.

Motor gasoline supplies rose 1.9 million barrels, while distillate stocks added 1.7 million barrels, the EIA report said. Analysts had forecast a rise of 3 million barrels for gasoline inventories and a climb of 1.6 million barrels in distillate supplies, which include heating oil.

February heating oil HOG3 -0.08%  closed down 1 cent, or 0.4%, at $3 a gallon, while February gasoline RBG3 +0.82%  tacked on 1.5 cents, or 0.6%, to $2.72 a gallon.

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