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US crude stocks in surprise fall from record high; refiners in overdrive
[NEW YORK] US crude stocks unexpectedly fell from record highs last week as refineries continued to hike output and imports fell, while gasoline stocks rose, snapping a six-week decline, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell by 4.9 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 3.2 million barrels. US crude oil prices briefly extended gains on the data but the move faded quickly.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 357,000 barrels, EIA said.
Refinery crude runs, which have remained at record seasonal levels for most of this year thanks to unusually strong gasoline margins, rose by 199,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 1 percentage point, although usage may ebb with more maintenance expected throughout this month.
Gasoline stocks, which swelled this winter to record highs and remain at unusually high levels for this time of year, rose by 1.4 million barrels after six consecutive declines, compared with expectations for a 1.0 million barrels drop.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.8 million barrels, versus expectations for a 333,000 barrels drop, the EIA data showed.
US crude imports fell last week by 446,000 barrels per day.