Prices rise as oil, fuel inventories continue to fall

More bullish news for oil producers came out Wednesday with data indicating the nation’s large stockpiles of crude oil and refined fuels are shrinking.

U.S. commercial crude inventories fell by 1.8 million barrels last week, while gasoline supplies in storage declined by 400,000 barrels, the Energy Department said Wednesday. The stockpiles of distillate fuel oils used to make diesel and heating oils fell by 1.9 million barrels. Jet fuel supplies fell by 1.3 million barrels.

U.S. oil prices rose Wednesday morning, trading in New York for more than $49 a barrel.

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Rising U.S. oil production from onshore shale plays like West Texas’ Permian Basin have contributed to fears of a continued global glut, pushing U.S. oil prices down from over $53 a barrel a month ago  to below $46 per barrel last week. Saudi Arabia and Russia, however, have tentatively agreed to extend their production cuts for the rest of the year.

U.S. oil exports rose to nearly 1.1 million barrels, up from less than 700,000 barrels a week before. But U.S. oil and fuel inventories remain well above historical averages for this time of year.