By Yasin Ebrahim – U.S. crude stockpiles fell last week adding to signs of growing crude demand ahead fo summer driving season, set to kick-off at month-end.

West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude prices, was down $0.05 a barrel to $66.03 on the news, after settling down $0.02 at $66.07 a barrel.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 439,000 barrels for the week ended May 20, according to an estimate released Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute. That compared with a build of 620,000 million barrels reported by the API for the previous week.

The API also showed that gasoline inventories fell by about 1.99 million last week, compared with a 2.8 million draw in the prior week, and distillate stocks slipped by about 5.14 million barrels.

The official government inventory report due Wednesday is expected to show weekly U.S. crude supplies declined by about 1.05 million barrels last week.

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