February 15, 2017 / 3:36 PM / 6 months ago

U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles hit record highs - EIA

A pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield, California October 14, 2014.Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil and gasoline inventories soared to record highs last week as refineries cut output and gasoline demand softened, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories rose 9.5 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 10, nearly three times more than analysts' expectations, boosting stocks - not including the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve - to an all-time record at 518 million barrels.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures fell by 702,000 barrels and U.S. crude imports by 1.34 million barrels per day, the EIA said.

Benchmark U.S. crude futures initially weakened after the data before rebounding, continuing a recent pattern where initially bearish news results in a rally.

By 10:59 a.m. ET (1559 GMT), it was trading 19 cents firmer at $53.39 a barrel. Brent crude was up 17 cents to $56.14 a barrel.

"Although this is another bearish report, we're likely to see buying interest this afternoon only to sell off later in the week as has been the case for many weeks now," said Troy Vincent, oil analyst at ClipperData in Louisville, Kentucky.

Gasoline stocks rose 2.8 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 752,000-barrel drop. That pushed inventories of the fuel to a record at 259 million barrels.

Inventories of gasoline have surged by 10 percent since the end of 2016, EIA data showed.

Overall demand for gasoline in the last four weeks was down 5.3 percent year-on-year at 8.43 million barrels per day (bpd).

Despite the bearish data, U.S. gasoline futures were also firmer, rising 0.65 percent to $1.5569 a gallon.

Refinery crude runs fell 435,000 bpd as utilization rates fell 2.3 percentage points to 85.4 percent of nationwide refining capacity, EIA data showed.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 689,000 barrels, in line with forecasts, the EIA data showed.

Reporting By David Gaffen; additional reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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