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Oil prices rise as U.S. inventories drop

NEW YORK, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices moved higher on Wednesday after data showed a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.

The West Texas Intermediate for September delivery added 74 cents to settle at 72.39 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for September delivery increased 26 cents to close at 74.74 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

U.S. crude oil inventories decreased by 4.1 million barrels during the week ending July 23, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report on Wednesday. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts forecast the U.S. crude inventories to show a fall of 2.5 million barrels for last week.

At 435.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories were about 7 percent below the five-year average for this time of year.

According to the EIA, total motor gasoline inventories decreased 2.3 million barrels last week , while distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.1 percent.

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