EIA: U.S. crude stocks drop; fuel stocks post large builds

U.S. crude stocks fell in the latest week while gasoline and distillate inventories posted big builds, as oil refiners' utilization climbed to the highest since 2019, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell by 5.2 MMbbl in the week to December 2 to 413.9 MMbbl, a decline that far exceeded analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 3.3-MMbbl drop.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 6.2 MMbbl in the week to 118.8 MMbbl, vs. expectations for a 2.2-MMbbl rise, EIA data showed. The large build came despite the colder winter months typically being a period of higher demand for the product.

"The distillates situation is the headline here," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. "You're making lot of distillates, and the demand number is down again this week. This is the first report of December and you still have demand going south, not north."

U.S. gasoline stocks rose by 5.3 MMbbl in the week to 219.1 MMbbl, the EIA said, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.7-MMbbl rise.

Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.3% points in the week to 95.5%, the highest since August 2019, EIA data showed.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude production rose to 12.2 MMbpd, the highest since August.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 373,000 bbl in the last week, EIA said.

Refinery crude runs fell by 53,000 bpd in the last week, EIA said.

Net U.S. crude imports rose by 1.49 MMbpd, EIA said.

(Reporting By David Gaffen and Stephanie Kelly; additional reporting by Shariq Khan; Editing by David Gregorio)


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