U.S. crude stockpiles dip, gasoline builds amid weak fuel demand

U.S. crude oil and distillate inventories fell last week, while gasoline stocks rose in another weak showing for fuel demand, the Energy Information Administration said.

Refinery runs and crude production both fell sharply, however, which analysts attributed to ongoing disruptions from Hurricane Delta.

Crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell by 1 MM barrels in the week to Oct. 16 to 488.1 MM barrels, in line with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll.

Production of crude fell sharply last week to 9.9 MMbpd from 10.5 MMbpd, which was in part due to offshore facilities shutting for part of the week due to the hurricane.

“Overall the report seems to suggest that we’re still seeing the impact from the hurricane. It’s hard to gauge any broader supply or demand issues,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group.

Prices were lower on the day, with U.S. crude CLc1 down 4%, or $1.30, to $40.40 a barrel, while Brent LCOc1 dropped 2.8% to $41.95 a barrel as of 10:54 a.m. ET (1454 GMT).

Overall product supplied, a proxy for demand, was lower as well, and remained down 13% on the year and over the past four weeks when compared with the year-ago period.

Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI fell by 551,000 bpd in the last week, the EIA said, and refinery utilization rates USOIRU=ECI fell by 2.2 percentage points to 72.9% of capacity.

U.S. gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose by 1.9 million barrels in the week, the EIA said, compared with expectations for a 1.8 million-barrel drop.​

Distillate stockpiles USOILD=ECI, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 3.8 MM barrels to 160.7 MM barrels, more than double the forecast for a 1.7 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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