U.S. crude futures hold losses after EIA data

NEW YORK Wed Jan 5, 2011 10:46am EST

NEW YORK Jan 5 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil futures prices initially held earlier losses on Wednesday in choppy trading after a government report said U.S. crude oil stocks fell more than forecast last week, though not as much as was reported in industry data the previous day.

U.S. crude oil stocks fell 4.16 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly oil inventory report on Wednesday. [EIA/S]

That was less than the 7.5 million barrel slide reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday. [API/S]

But the EIA report also showed builds in distillate and gasoline stocks that were higher than expected.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, February crude CLG1 fell $1, or 1.12 percent, to $88.38 a barrel at 10:40 a.m. EST (1540 GMT), trading before the data as low as $88.10 and as high as $89.43.

Prices were about 74 cents lower ahead of the EIA report, already under pressure from a stronger dollar. (Reporting by Robert Gibbons)

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