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US Oil Supply Falls

Tuesday 17th August 2010
U.S. oil inventories probably fell to a one-month low last week as imports tumbled, according to a survey for Bloomberg News.

Stockpiles dropped 1 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, in the seven days ended Aug. 13 from 355 million a week earlier, according to the median of 13 analyst estimates before an US Energy Department report tomorrow.

Bloomberg says the last time supplies were so low was July 16, just before prices climbed to a three-month high of $ 82.97 on Aug. 4.

since reaching an almost four-year high in the week ended July 23, Imports have dropped 15 percent according to US Energy Department data. Shipments declined 188,000 barrels a day to 9.44 million in the week ended Aug. 6 from an average 11.1 million in the seven days ended July 23, the highest level since August 2006.

The profit margin from refining a barrel of oil into a barrel of gasoline, based on Nymex futures prices, fell to the lowest level this year. The margin, or crack spread, dropped 33 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $ 5.743 a barrel. It slid to $ 5.637 earlier, the lowest level since Dec. 22.

BP Plc’s Global Indicator Margin, a measure of refining profitability, averaged $ 4.32 a barrel in the third quarter through Aug. 12, down 21 percent from the second quarter, the company said in a report yesterday.

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