Oil Prices Hold Firm





Crude oil futures hardly moved by noon ET Wednesday even as large drawdown in U.S. stockpiles signaled an uptick in demand ahead of the Fourth of July.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 12.2 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. Gasoline stockpiles declined by 2.2 million barrels.

West Texas Intermediate reportedl its August contract was up seven cents to $82.88 per barrel. Year to date, U.S. oil has gained 15.6%.

Brent

September contract was $86.31 per barrel, up five cents. Year to date, the global benchmark is ahead by 11.9%.

RBOB Gasoline August contract: $2.55 per gallon, down 0.68%. Year to date, gasoline is up 21.54%.

Natural Gas August contract proved to be $2.46 per thousand cubic feet, up 1.36%. Year to date, gas is down 1.8%.

Gasoline prices south of the border are averaging $3.51 per gallon ahead of the Fourth of July, up about two cents from last week, according to the motorist association AAA. Some 60 million Americans, a record, are expected to hit the road for the holiday, according to AAA.



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