US crude oil supplies fell by 2 million barrels

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

Crude supplies dropped by 2 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 373.1 million barrels, which is 9.9 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report Thursday.

Analysts expected an increase of 2 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 26, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies grew by 900,000 barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 199.5 million barrels. That's 3.3 percent below year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to decline by 900,000 barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Oct. 26 was 0.1 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 8.7 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 87.7 percent of total capacity on average, up 0.5 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to be unchanged.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, shrank by 100,000 barrels to 117.9 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.5 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures rose 92 to $87.16 a barrel in New York.

The EIA's weekly petroleum report was delayed a day because of Superstorm Sandy.