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US crude oil supplies grow by 5.9 million barrels

NEW YORK (AP) -- The nation's crude oil supplies rose last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies grew by 5.9 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 369.1 million barrels, which is 8.9 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 2.5 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 25, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies shrank by 1 million barrels, or 0.4 percent, to 232.3 million barrels. That's 0.9 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to be unchanged.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Jan. 25 was 3 percent higher than a year earlier, averaging 8.3 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 85 percent of total capacity on average, up 1.4 percentage points from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to decline to 83.4 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.3 million barrels to 130.6 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures rose by 15 cents to $97.72 a barrel in New York.

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