U.S. crude stockpiles rise unexpectedly for second week

U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose unexpectedly for a second straight week, despite the highest refining rates in six months and lower imports and production, the Energy Information Administration said.

Gasoline inventories increased last week in line with forecasts, while distillates posted an unexpected drawdown, the statistical arm of the EIA said.

Crude inventories rose 2.2 million barrels in the week to June 7, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 481,000 barrels.

At 485.5 million barrels, commercial stocks were at their highest since July 2017 and about 8% above the five-year average for this time of year, the EIA said.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures rose 2.1 million barrels, the EIA said.

“The report was mostly bearish, given the sizeable crude oil inventory build,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.

Crude prices extended their losses after the report. U.S. crude futures was down $1.40 a barrel at $51.87, while Brent traded down $1.40 at $60.87 a barrel by 10:55 a.m. EDT (1455 GMT).

Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 140,000 barrels per day and crude production fell 100,000 bpd from its all-time peak to 12.3 million bpd in the week, it said.

On the demand side, refinery crude runs rose 126,000 bpd as refinery utilization rates jumped 1.4 percentage points to 93.2% of total capacity, their highest since January, EIA data showed.

“Imports fell and processing increased, but not enough to prevent the inventory build,” said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, Germany.

Gasoline stocks rose by 764,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 743,000-barrel gain.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.1 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

Editing by Marguerita Choy

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