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EIA Oil Report Surprises With Higher Reserves; Prices Ease

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The weekly Energy Information Administration report issued Wednesday revealed that reserves in oil inventories were considerably higher than expected for the week ending March 4. Crude oil futures reacted with a fall in price, backing off from earlier highs.

April delivery crude, according to MarketWatch, had been trading at $105.17 just prior to the release of the report. After the release, the price was $105.04 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Dow Jones Newswires, according to the report, had surveyed analysts who expected an increase of 600,000 barrels in the reserves. Instead, the EIA reported that reserves had increased by 2.52 million barrels, with the Cushing, Okla. storage hub stockpilel at a record high of 40.26 million barrels.

Reuters reported that gasoline and heating oil rose in price, thanks to lower than expected reserves. Those stocks are also reflecting the increase in Brent crude, which has been in record territory thanks to the unrest in Libya and corresponding fall in output.