(Adds details from report, analyst comment, market reaction)
NEW YORK, June 8 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil inventories fell for the third consecutive week, declining more than expected, while gasoline and distillate stockpiles posted a surprise build as refiners ramped up output, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories fell 3.2 million barrels in the week to June 3, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.7 million barrels.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures fell 1.4 million barrels and crude imports slipped by 134,000 barrels per day, the EIA said.
Refinery crude runs rose 211,000 bpd as utilization rates jumped 1.1 percentage point to 90.0 percent of total refining capacity.
“Lower imports as expected in conjunction with a 1.1 percentage point increase in refinery utilization ultimately led to the third consecutive week of lower crude inventories,” said Troy Vincent, crude oil analyst for New York-headquartered energy data provider ClipperData.
Crude futures pared gains and gasoline futures declined after the data was released. U.S. crude futures for July delivery were up 64 cents to $51.00 a barrel, a 1.3 percent gain, as of 11:02 a.m. (1502 GMT). Brent crude futures for August delivery were up 52 cents to $51.96 a barrel, a 1 percent gain.
“The big surprise was in the product markets where there were builds in both gasoline and heating oil,” said Tariq Zahir, managing partner at Tyche Capital Advisors in New York. “While we are witnessing a momentum trade in spot crude helped by the weakness in the dollar, the forward curve remains in contango with the build in the product markets.”
Gasoline stocks rose 1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 674,000-barrel drop.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 1.8 million barrels, versus forecasts for a 125,000-barrel draw, the EIA data showed.
“Despite strong product demand on a year-on-year basis, we still saw builds to gasoline and the first build to distillates in eight weeks,” said Vincent of ClipperData.
"There is a reason that the gasoline futures spread between July and August RB-1=R is negative for the first time in a decade."
This indicates a sentiment that gasoline demand will weaken more than expected or that the crude glut will be reflected by a gasoline glut, he said. (Reporting By Jessica Resnick-Ault; Additional reporting by Barani Krishnan; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.