January 27, 2016 / 3:43 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. crude stocks soar to highest on record: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks rose to the highest level on record last week, while gasoline stocks increased and distillate inventories fell, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.

Crude inventories USOILC=ECI rose by 8.4 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 3.3 million barrels. That brought crude inventories to 494.92 million barrels, the highest level since the EIA began tracking the data.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub USOICC=ECI fell by 771,000 barrels, EIA said.

“The draw in Cushing could be supportive and it’s something we’re looking at. It could also mean that North Dakota is cutting production,” said Carl Larry, director of business development at Forst & Sullivan in Houston.

The numbers showed a less bearish picture than the API data released Tuesday, which had indicated an 11-million barrel crude stockpile build. As a result, U.S. crude futures showed gains after the data, rising to $31.82 by 11:28 a.m. ET.

Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI fell by 551,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates USOIRU=ECI fell by 3.2 percentage points.

Gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose by 3.5 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a gain of 1.5 million barrels. In the Midwestern United States, gasoline stocks reached the highest levels reported since 2010.

“I don’t think this report shows that things are all that bullish when I read it,” said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “When you see that refinery rates dropped by more than 3 percent and that the gasoline stocks grew by 3.5 million barrels - that doesn’t point to a real strong picture.”

Distillate stockpiles USOILD=ECI, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 4.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a drop of 1.9 million barrels, the EIA data showed.

U.S. crude imports USOICI=ECI fell last week by 69,000 barrels per day.

Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault, Additional reporting by Devika Kumar and Catherine Ngai; Editing by Frances Kerry

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