Crude Oil

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By Myra P. Saefong, Markets/Commodities Reporter
Carla Mozee, Markets Reporter & Eric Yep
Published: Mar 4, 2015 – 11:25 a.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — U.S. oil futures fell below $50 a barrel on Wednesday, after a government report showed that crude supplies jumped by more than 10 million barrels in the latest week.

Crude for delivery in April CLJ5, -1.19%  fell 59 cents, or 1.2%, to $49.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was trading around $50.50 shortly before the government supply report.April Brent crude on London’s ICE Futures exchange LCOJ5, -2.15%  was down 97 cents, or 1.6%, at $60.05 a barrel.The U.S. Energy Information Administration early Wednesday reported that crude inventories rose by 10.3 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 27. Analysts polled by Platts had forecast a crude-stock climb of 3.7 million barrels, while sources said the API reported a 2.9 million-barrel rise.

The EIA’s “substantial build” is the largest since 2001, according to John Macaluso, research analyst at Tyche Capital Advisors.

As storage at oil’s U.S. storage hub of Cushing, Okla. “continues to reach closer its operating capacity, it has been said at this rate, operational capacity could be reached as soon as next month,” he said.

Gasoline supplies were unchanged from the previous week, while distillate stockpiles fell 1.7 million barrels, according to the EIA. The Platts survey showed that analysts were looking for a decline of 1.7 million for gasoline stockpiles and a fall of 2.2 million barrels for distillates, which include heating oil.

Distillate fuel product supplies, which is an indicator of demand, averaged over 4.2 million barrels a day over the last four weeks, the EIA said. That’s up nearly 17% from the same time last year.

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