EIA: US Crude oil, gasoline stocks up unexpectedly in latest week

(Reuters) — US crude oil and gasoline inventories grew unexpectedly last week as crude production and refining output rose, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories rose for a second week in a row, building by 1.9 MMbbl in the week to Nov. 10, contrary to analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a decrease of 2.2 MMbbl.

The build, however, was lower than the 6.5 MMbbl rise reported by trade group the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday.

"The report was bearish, but prices had already reacted, in negative fashion, to last night's API report, which was a tough act to follow," said John Kilduff, partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital LLC in New York.

Crude prices were lower on the day, though slightly stronger than before the release of the data. By 11:07 a.m. (1607 GMT), US crude futures were down 46 cents to $55.25/bbl, while Brent was 63 cents lower at $61.58 a barrel.

Weekly crude production inched up to another record high since the EIA started keeping weekly data in 1983, hitting 9.65 MMbpd. That is still short of monthly records set in the 1970s, when crude output exceeded 10 MMbpd.

The weekly production figure tends to fluctuate, whereas the EIA's monthly data, which traders consider more reliable, still shows US production levels around 9.2 MMbpd.

Crude imports rose last week by 261,000 bpd to 7.9 MMbpd, as exports rose 260,000 bpd to 1.1 MMbpd.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for US crude futures fell 1.5 MMbbl, EIA said.

After three weeks of drawdowns, gasoline stocks rose 894,000 bbl, compared with forecasts for a 919,000-bbl drop.

Refining rates rose to their highest since before hurricanes hit the US Gulf refining hub in late August.

Crude runs rose 334,000 bpd to 16.6 MMbpd as refinery utilization rates increased by 1.4 percentage points to 91% of capacity.

East Coast refining utilization hit 99.8% of capacity, its highest on record dating to 2010.

Despite higher overall refining rates, distillate stockpiles, fell for the fourth week in a row and were in the lower half of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said.

The stocks, which include diesel and heating oil that usually starts building ahead of winter heating demand, dropped 799,000 bbl, versus expectations for a 1.3-MMbbl drop, the data showed.

US Gulf Coast distillate stocks fell to 38.8 MMbbl, a one-year low.

Reporting by David Gaffen Editing by Marguerita Choy

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