(Adds analyst comment, futures prices)
NEW YORK, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks rose nearly twice as much as expected last week as refineries cut output from a seasonal record high, while gasoline stocks unexpectedly fell and distillate inventories rose, data showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 5.32 million barrels to 489 million in the last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 2.9 million barrels.
It was the 15th consecutive weekly build for crude stocks and pushed U.S. commercial inventories to a record peak.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 738,000 barrels, EIA said. That is the second-smallest build at Cushing this year.
U.S. oil prices rallied after the data, turning positive on the day.
U.S. June crude was up 22 cents at $56.83 a barrel at 11:13 a.m. EDT (1513 GMT), having traded from $55.73 to $57.19.
Brent June crude was up 77 cents at $62.85, having traded from $61.39 to $63.10.
Refinery crude runs fell by 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), EIA data showed, ending a period of unusually early and rapid gains that had pushed runs to a seasonal record high.
At 15.98 million bpd, refinery runs are now level with a year ago.
Utilization rates fell by 1.1 percentage points to 91.2 percent of capacity.
Gasoline stocks fell by 2.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 700,000-barrel drop.
“The overall gasoline inventory drawdown is also a supportive for the complex given that commodity’s seasonal leadership,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
“Prices will likely key off of the supportive aspects of the report more than incredible amount of crude oil inventories,” Kilduff added.
While U.S. total gasoline stocks fell, inventories on the East Coast, which includes the New York harbor delivery point for the U.S. RBOB gasoline futures contract, rose by 396,000 barrels last week to 63.3 million, the highest level for this period since 1999.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 395,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 1.2 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
U.S. crude imports rose last week by 617,000 bpd to 7.26 million bpd. (Reporting by Jonathan Leff and Robert Gibbons in New York; Editing by Peter Galloway)