NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. crude prices continued to decline on Wednesday as Hurricane Harvey shuts down more U.S. refiners, ripping through the heart of the oil industry.
Now tropical storm Harvey ravaged Houston and other parts of Texas over the weekend. Houston is home to several of the major U.S. refineries.
Analysts said as refineries were forced to shut operation in severe weather, gasoline prices rose sharply.
Oil prices fell as the refinery shutdowns could reduce demand for American crude. Data showed the hurricane shut down about 23 percent of refining capacity in the country.
On the economic front, U.S. crude oil inventories fell 5.4 million barrels in the August 25 week to 457.8 million, 7.6 percent below the level in the same week a year ago, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration.
The West Texas Intermediate for October delivery lost 0.48 U.S. dollar to settle at 45.96 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for October delivery was down 1.14 dollars to close at 50.86 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.