NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks rose last week to the highest level since 1990 even as crude imports fell, government data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 2.71 million barrels to more than 388 million barrels in the week to March 29, compared with analysts’ expectations for a rise of 2.2 million barrels.
The rise came as domestic production of crude remained at 7.15 million barrels per day last week, unchanged from the previous week and near a 20-year high reached earlier last month. Crude imports fell by 227,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 7.89 million bpd last week, EIA said.
U.S. refined product inventories fell last week even as plant utilization rose, by 0.6 percentage point to 86.3 percent of total capacity. Analysts had expected a rise in refinery utilization of 0.4 percentage point in a Reuters poll.
U.S. gasoline stocks fell 572,000 barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decline of 800,000 barrels.
Four-week average gasoline demand was down 1.2 percent from year-ago levels, the EIA reported.
Distillate fuels, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 2.27 million barrels, compared with expectations for a drop of 1.1 million barrels.
“The report is somewhat bearish given the build in crude oil inventories and modest decline in gasoline inventories, which are the focus of the market,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund.
U.S. oil futures extended earlier losses after the data. By 11:35 a.m. EDT (1535 GMT) they were down $1.73 at $95.46 a barrel. Before the data, oil was off about 73 cents per barrel.
EIA data also showed that U.S. imports of refined products rose 287,000 barrels per day to 1.85 million bpd.
Crude stocks at delivery hub Cushing, Oklahoma, fell 287,000 barrels to 49.18 million barrels.