The price of crude oil stayed flat Wednesday as falling stockpiles of crude were offset by rising supplies of refined fuels.
Benchmark U.S. oil for July fell 2 cents to close at $102.64 a barrel in New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 42 cents to close at $108.40 a barrel in London.
The Energy Department reported Wednesday that U.S. crude supplies fell by 3.4 million barrels last week as refiners increased activity and imports fell. Analysts had expected a decline of 2 million barrels, according to Platts, the energy information division of McGraw Hill.
Lower-than-expected crude supplies would normally push prices higher, but supplies of refined fuels — especially diesel — rose, and overall demand appeared weak. That pushed down prices for fuels — and crude, on expectations that refiners would not need to increase crude purchases in future weeks to make more fuel.
“The global oil market is amply supplied at present,” said analysts at Commerzbank in a note to clients.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline fell 1.4 cents to close at $2.935 a gallon.
— Natural gas rose 1.1 cents to close at $4.64 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil fell 1.8 cents to close at $2.848 a gallon.