NEW YORK, Jul. 21 -- Crude prices rose on Wednesday as U.S. crude inventories declined for the straight seventh week and investors were hoping solution for European and U.S. debt problems.
The Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories fell 3.7 million barrels in the week ended July 15, far beyond analysts' estimation of an increase. It was the straight seventh weekly decline. Gasoline stocks added 800,000 barrels and distillates built 3.4 billion barrels last week.
A weaker dollar also helped the crude. The greenback fell against the euro as the euro zone leaders summit neared. Investors were cautiously optimistic about an collective action for solving Greece's debt crisis. The dollar index, tracking dollar performance against a basket of currencies, fell about 0.5 percent.
Investors were also encouraged by the progress in the U.S. debt ceiling talks. After the House approved the "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill on Tuesday, marking the progress of the stalled negotiation, an alternative plan known as "Gang of six" draw more attention, which was hoped to be the real resolution for raising debt ceiling and cutting deficit.
Light, sweet crude for August delivery gained 54 cents, or 0.55 percent to settle at 98.04 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude for September delivery also rose and last traded around 118 dollars a barrel.