Crude oil stocks rise again

Crude prices rose early Wednesday on reports that U.S. inventories declined over the past week.

U.S. commercial crude oil stocks increased last week by 6.5 million barrels over the previous week, the U.S. Department of Energy reported on Wednesday, the second week of rising supplies in a row.

Inventories now stand at 494.8 million barrels, near the upper limit of average for this time of year.

Oil refineries absorbed less crude, about 15.9 million barrels per day over the week, 100,000 barrels per day less than the previous week.

RELATED: Petroleum supplies rise, demand slips

Crude imports rose by 480,000 barrels per day to 8.3 million barrels per day.

Total gasoline inventories increased by 3.9 million barrels last week, to end above average. Distillate fuel increased by 1.6 million barrels. Propane/propylene fell 5.6 million barrels but are still in the upper half of the average range.

In total, commercial petroleum inventories increased by 5.3 million barrels last week, according to the weekly release by the department’s Energy Information Administration.

U.S. crude prices rose 18 cents on Tuesday to settle at $52.81; crude was trading at around $53.30 on Wednesday morning.