| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 30 U.S. gasoline inventories fell
last week as motorists topped up their tanks ahead of the
Memorial Day holiday weekend, government data showed on
Thursday, while stocks of crude oil rose to their highest level
In its weekly report on fuel supplies, the U.S. Energy
Information Administration said stockpiles of gasoline fell by
1.5 million barrels in the week ended on Friday, with more than
half of the drop on the heavily populated East Coast.
Oil traders took the decline as a signal that the recent
drop in wholesale prices might be coming to an end. Benchmark
RBOB gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange
climbed off a four-week low of $2.75 a gallon after the report's
release to trade back above $2.82.
The 841,000-barrel drop in East Coast gasoline stocks was of
particular interest, oil traders said, after stocks had risen to
a 14-year high for the time of year last week despite a series
of refinery closures in the region in recent years.
U.S. crude oil stocks, which have swollen amid a production
boom to the highest level on record, touched a fresh peak last
week with a rise of 3 million barrels to 397.55 million. That is
almost 13 million barrels over the level of last year.
In the Midwest, where much of the new U.S. production is
centered, stocks also stood at a record peak, touching 118.38
million barrels after rising by almost 900,000 last week.
Stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery point of the U.S.
crude oil contract, rose by 335,000 barrels to 50.51
(Reporting by David Sheppard; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)