By July 7, 2016 Read More →

US crude inventories fall for seventh straight week

US crude inventories

US crude inventories, gasoline stocks fell during the week ending July 1.  Bloomberg photo.

US crude inventories down less than market expectations

July 7 (Reuters) – US crude inventories fell for a seventh consecutive week, within analysts forecasts but far less than market expectations amid a drop in refinery runs and higher imports, while gasoline stocks also fell less than expected, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

Crude inventories fell 2.2 million barrels in the week to July 1, inline with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels. Crude futures, however, had risen after the American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, late Wednesday reported a much bigger 6.7 million-barrel drop.

Gasoline stocks fell 122,000 barrels, less than analysts’ expectations for a 353,000-barrel drop.

“Imports remain strong and refiners have been more the meeting the gasoline demand,” said John Kilduff, a partner at New York-based energy hedge fund Again Capital. “Expectations were high for this report, and they were dashed.”

U.S. crude imports rose 808,000 barrels per day (b/d).

Refinery crude runs dipped by 8,000 b/d and utilization rates slipped 0.5 percentage point to 92.5 percent of capacity, the EIA data showed.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. futures fell by a slight 82,000 barrels, EIA said.

Crude oil futures reversed gains after the data. U.S. crude futures fell 53 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $46.90 a barrel by 11:18 a.m. (1518 GMT). Brent crude futures lost 53 cents at $48.27 a barrel.

The report was bearish in light of expectations for larger crude and gasoline draws, said Matt Smith, an analyst at oil cargo tracker and energy data provider ClipperData.

“A drop in refinery utilization in combination with super-strong imports helped to stymie the draw to crude,” he said.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 1.6 million barrels, versus expectations for an increase of 31,000 barrels, the EIA data showed.

(Reporting By David Gaffen and Jessica Resnick-Ault)

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