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Oil prices rise as US reports mixed data

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Oil prices rose markedly on Wednesday after several days of losses while weekly figures from the US Energy Department painted a mixed picture.

[NEW YORK] Oil prices rose markedly on Wednesday after several days of losses while weekly figures from the US Energy Department painted a mixed picture.

In New York, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose US$1.32 to US$40.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In London, North Sea Brent for October delivery rose US$1.30 to US$43.10 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange.

The Energy Department on Wednesday released mixed data on US production and inventories of crude and gasoline - figures closely watched by investors.

Last week, commercial crude oil supplies were up 0.3 per cent at 522.5 million barrels, 14.8 per cent more than was recorded at the same point last year.

Gasoline inventories however were down 1.4 per cent at 238.2 million barrels, but were still up 9.9 per cent year-on-year.

Average daily domestic crude production was down 55,000 barrels at 8.5 million.

James Williams of WTRG Economics said the market reaction did not clearly correspond to conditions.

"We're probably 200 million (barrels) in crude oil inventories more than is necessary to function. So the inventories remain excessive, which should be bearish," he told AFP.

"Gasoline stocks went down but they're still 10 per cent more than they were last year, and they normally decline at this time of year because it's the driving season," said Mr Williams.

"All of those things are really negative for crude. There's one number you might call bullish and that's domestic production which was down 55,000 barrels per day," he added.

"Frankly, I don't know the reason for it."

AFP