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Crude Oil Supplies Drop

Crude supplies fell by 1.7 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 363.8 million barrels, which is 0.4 percent below year-ago levels.

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies and gasoline supplies shrank last week, the government reported Wednesday.

Crude supplies fell by 1.7 million barrels, or 0.5 percent, to 363.8 million barrels, which is 0.4 percent below year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected a drop of 2 million barrels for the week ended June 17, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies fell by 500,000 barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 214.6 million barrels. That was 1.4 percent below year-ago levels. Anlaysts expected gasoline supplies to increase by 1 million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended June 17 was 0.9 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 9.3 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 89.2 percent of total capacity on average, a rise of 3.8 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to grow to 86.1 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.2 million barrels to 142 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to rise by 800,000 barrels.

Crude prices rose 56 cents to $94.73 per barrel in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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