With output falling and demand rising, U.S. crude inventories resumed a downward trend last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.  

U.S. commercial oil inventories in the week ended July 23, excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, decreased by 4.1 million bbl from the previous week. At 435.6 million bbl, U.S. crude oil inventories were 7% below the five-year average, EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed.

A week earlier, crude stocks rose modestly, interrupting a summer-long trend. However, that result proved an exception. Imports during that week averaged 7.1 million b/d, up 900,000 b/d from the previous week, temporarily offsetting mounting demand.

Oil consumption in the July 23 week, meanwhile, continued to climb as the...