NEW YORK, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Crude prices were mixed on Wednesday as U.S. crude inventories increased lower than expected last week, and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke remained supportive of the stimulus monetary policy.
The Energy Information Administration of the Energy Department released its weekly report, which showed that crude inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, or 0.3 percent, to 377.5 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 22, lower than analysts' expectation of 2.6 million barrels.
Gasoline supplies declined by 1.9 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 228.5 million barrels, more than the expected drop of 1.5 million barrels.
U.S. refineries operated at 85 percent of their total capacity, up 2.2 percent from the previous week.
On the second day of his testimony before congressional committee, Bernanke repeated his view of buying bonds to keep interest rates low, so as to promote growth and bring down the unemployment rate.
On the economic front, the pending home sales index revealed strong house sales for the United States. The forward-looking indicator based on contract signings increased 4.5 percent to 105. 9 in January, the highest since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Wednesday.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery gained 13 cents, to settle at 92.76 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude for April delivery fell 84 cents, or 0.75 percent to close at 111.87 dollars a barrel.