MTECHTIPS;-Oil drops to sessions lows as crude stocks rise by 2.3

MTECHTIPS;-Oil drops to sessions lows as crude stocks rise by 2.3 M barrels

MTECHTIPS- Oil prices declined on Wednesday, falling to the lowest levels of the session after data showed a surprise increase in U.S. crude supplies last week. Crude oil for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 25 cents, or 0.47%, to $53.05 a barrel by 10:35 AM ET (15:35 GMT). Prices were at around $53.30 prior to the release of the inventory data. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories rose by 2.3 million barrels in the week ended December 16. Market analysts’ expected a crude-stock drop of 2.5 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a supply fall of 4.1 million barrels. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the key delivery point for Nymex crude, decreased by 245,000 barrels last week, the EIA said. Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 485.4 million barrels as of last week, which the EIA considered to be at the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. The report also showed that gasoline inventories declined by 1.3 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 1.4 million barrels. For distillate inventories including diesel, the EIA reported a drop of 2.4 million barrels.