US Crude, Gas Stocks Fall

US Crude-oil and gasoline stocks dropped sharply for the second time last week while according to government data released Wednesday afternoon.

The drops were largely due to prolonged shutdowns after Hurricane Gustav barreled through the Gulf of Mexico, though most companies report their facilities experienced little damage.

Crude-oil inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report. Analysts had expected a drop of 3.9 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories slipped by 6.5 million barrels. Analysts expected stockpiles to fall by 4.7 million barrels.

Inventories of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, decreased by a less than anticipated 1.2 million barrels. Analysts had expected distillate stocks to slide by 2.3 million barrels.

At 4pm London time October crude was 52c lower at $102.70/barrel.