U.S. crude oil inventories down: API

HOUSTON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported a decrease of 2.184 million barrels of crude oil in U.S. inventories for the week ending Feb. 3.

Analysts expected a hike of 2.15 million barrels for this week.

The API reported a surge of 6.33 million barrels in the previous week.

The API figure shows how much oil is available in storage, giving an overview of U.S. petroleum demand. If the increase in crude inventories is more than expected, it implies weaker demand and is bearish for crude prices.

U.S. oil prices surged on Tuesday.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery gained 3.03 U.S. dollars to settle at 77.14 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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