In the markets… Oil futures update


Oil futures lost ground this week after a smaller-than-anticipated drawdown in weekly crude stocks. A closely watched report showed a decline in crude inventories, but also revealed that fuel stocks rose counter to earlier expectations.

Gasoline futures fell to their lowest level in a month following the unexpected rise in stockpiles, extending a recent slide that could signal lower prices at the pump in the coming weeks.

Crude oil for September delivery retreated 93 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $104.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The contract had shown a small gain on Wednesday morning just before the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude supplies decreased by 1.3 million barrels for the week ended 2 August to 363.3 million barrels.

Analysts surveyed by Platts had expected a drop of 2 million barrels.

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