US crude inventories down by 1.3 million barrels last week
By David Gaffen
Nov 23 (Reuters) – US crude inventories fell last week after three straight weeks of builds as imports dropped and refineries hiked output, while gasoline inventories rose sharply amid weak demand, U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday.
Crude oil inventories fell 1.3 million barrels in the week to Nov. 18, compared with expectations for an increase of 671,000 barrels. Stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for crude futures fell 87,000 barrels, the EIA said.
Oil prices were relatively steady after the data, as the market continues to ready for next week’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
U.S. crude futures oil rose 19 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $48.22 a barrel, while Brent crude gained 15 cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $49.27 a barrel.
U.S. crude imports fell last week by 833,000 barrels per day.
Refinery crude runs rose 271,000 b/d and utilization rates gained 1.6 percentage points to 90.8 per cent of total capacity, EIA data showed.
Gasoline stocks rose 2.3 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 643,000-barrel gain.
Gasoline demand over the past four weeks was 9.2 million b/d, only 0.6 per cent higher from a year ago.
“A solid build to gasoline inventories comes amid higher gasoline production and lower implied demand on the week,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.
“On the whole, the report is a welcome distraction from OPEC talk, but fairly neutral on the whole.”
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 327,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 357,000-barrel drop, the data showed.
(Reporting By David Gaffen; additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Toronto; Editing by Marguerita Choy)