US crude oil supplies up by 1.7 million barrels


NEW YORK -- The nation's crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies grew by 1.7 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 366.4 million barrels, which is 8.5 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a 1.5-million barrel rise for the week ended Oct. 5, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies dropped by 500,000 barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 195.4 million barrels. That's 6.8 percent lower than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to be unchanged from the week before.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Oct. 5 was 3.3 percent less than a year earlier, averaging 8.7 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 86.7 percent of total capacity on average, down 1.5 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to be unchanged.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, shrank by 3.2 million barrels to 120.9 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 400,000 barrels.

In morning trading benchmark crude rose $1.10 to $92.35 a barrel in New York.