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WTI oil rises first time in 3 days as US inventories decline

West Texas Intermediate crude rose for the first time in three days after the Energy Information Administration reported U.S. inventories dropped last week.

Stockpiles decreased by 4.47 million barrels in the week ended Aug. 15, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said in the weekly report. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a drop of 1.75 million. Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI contracts and the biggest U.S. oil-storage hub, rose 1.76 million.

The more actively-traded October WTI futures gained 0.7 percent to $93.55 a barrel at 10:34 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The September contract, which expired Wednesday, rose 1.3 percent to $95.75. The volume of all futures was 41 percent below the 100-day average.

Brent for October settlement climbed 0.6 percent to $102.16 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 5 percent below the 100-day average. It reached a premium of $8.67 to October WTI on the ICE.

Crude supplies declined to 362.5 million barrels last week, the EIA said. Gasoline stockpiles rose 585,000 and distillate fuels, including diesel and heating oil, fell 960,000.

Analysts in the Bloomberg survey had expected gasoline supplies to drop 1.55 million and distillates to decrease 300,000.

WTI and Brent have declined this month as Iraqi security forces stepped up attacks against Islamic State militants after ousting fighters from the country’s largest dam with U.S. air support.

Iraqi troops, joined with Kurdish fighters and backed by U.S. warplanes, are seeking to reverse gains by insurgents who have rampaged through the north of the country since capturing the city of Mosul in June.

Gold extends drop

Gold fell to a two-week low after minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July meeting raised the possibility that interest-rate increases may happen sooner than anticipated.

“Many participants noted that if convergence toward the committee’s objectives occurred more quickly than expected, it might become appropriate to begin removing monetary policy accommodation sooner than they currently anticipated,” the minutes of the last Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed.

Gold futures fell 3 percent last month as the dollar gained and amid concern that the Fed will raise interest rates as the economy gains traction. At the July meeting, the Fed cut bond purchases by $10 billion for a sixth time since November.

“The hawkish voices within the Fed have become louder,” Jerry Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds Inc. in New York, which has about $249 billion in assets under management, said in a telephone interview. “While the economic numbers are not very strong, they are definitely showing some strength.”

Gold for immediate delivery fell 0.5 percent to $1,288.99 an ounce after dropping to 1,288.01, the lowest since Aug. 6.

On the Comex in New York, gold futures for December delivery settled 0.1 percent lower at $1,295.20.

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