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Despite data showing a larger than expected drop in crude inventories last week, oil futures failed to hold early gains and settled roughly flat on Wednesday.

Oil prices rose earlier in the session on signs of falling stockpiles and hopes for a recovery in demand.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for July ended up by $0.03 at $72.15 a barrel, after climbing to a high of 72.99 around noon.

Data released by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude stockpiles fell by 7.36 million barrels last week, much more than an expected drop of about 2.5 million barrels.

The data showed gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.9 million barrels last week and distillate inventories dropped by 1.02 million barrels, higher than anticipated declines of 1 million barrels and 0.5 million barrels, respectively.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) released a report late Tuesday, showing a drop of 8.5 million barrels in crude inventories in the U.S. in the week ended June 11. Analysts had predicted a draw of 3.3 million barrels for the week.


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