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Oil prices sit at three-year highs as march to $70 slows

As oil prices marched up to three-year highs today, US stock..

As oil prices marched up to three-year highs today, US stockpile data somewhat dampened the black stuff's momentum.

Weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed crude stockpiles fell by 4.9m barrels, more than the 3.89m barrel draw analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

Gasoline inventories rose by 4.1m barrels to near the top of the average range, while analysts expected a smaller 2.6m barrel increase.

Read more: Oil prices rise to fresh mid-2015 highs on signs of a tightening market

A knee-jerk drop sent Brent crude oil to an intra-day low of $68.75 a barrel, but it soon recovered to trade around $69 again. Earlier in the day it reached a high of $69.37 a barrel.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices reached a December 2014 high of $63.67 a barrel earlier on.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "WTI and Brent crude oil have sold off in the wake of the EIA report which showed yet another decline in oil stockpiles, while gasoline inventories increased.

"It was the typical market reaction as oil initially jumped due to the drop in oil inventories, then [it sank] in that gasoline stockpiles surged, which prompted selling."

Read more: Motorists warned to expect "pump price misery" as oil heads towards $70

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