November 1, 2017 / 2:37 PM / in 9 months

U.S. oil and fuel stocks drop in latest week: EIA

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks of crude oil, gasoline and distillates fell last week, with the gasoline and crude draws exceeding expectations, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell by 2.4 million barrels in the week to Oct. 27, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 1.8 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks were down sharply, dropping by 4 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.5 million-barrel drop. Stocks of gasoline have been whittled down substantially in recent weeks from a large summer surplus, and now sit at 212.85 million barrels, according to the EIA.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 320,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 2.1 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

Oil prices were lower than before the news, despite what analysts termed as a mostly bullish report, because Tuesday’s figures from the American Petroleum Institute augured for a larger drop in key inventory figures.

“The crude draw was less than half the amount of the API, the decline in distillate stocks was just a fraction of the decline reported by the API,” said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, Germany.

API figures showed a draw of 5.1 million barrels of crude and 3.1 million barrels in distillates.

U.S. crude futures were up 35 cents to $54.73 a barrel, while Brent gained 38 cents to $61.32 a barrel. Both benchmarks have rallied by more than 10 percent in the last three weeks.

Analysts also cited the increase in production, which rose to 9.55 million bpd, while exports hit another one-week record, rising to 2.1 million bpd, the first time the 2 million mark has been exceeded. Traders and shippers have grown concerned that the United States, before long, will run into bottlenecks for exporting crude.

Refinery crude runs fell by 10,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.3 percentage points.

U.S. crude imports fell last week by 761,000 barrels per day.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 90,000 barrels, EIA said.

Reporting by David Gaffen; additional reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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