U.S. crude stockpiles fall unexpectedly, gasoline builds: EIA

FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind a crude oil pump jack on a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S. November 24, 2019. . REUTERS/Angus Mordant/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. crude oil inventories fell last week, as well as distillate stocks, while gasoline stockpiles rose sharply, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell by 754,000 barrels in the week to Nov. 20 to 488.7 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 127,000-barrel rise.

Gasoline stocks rose by 2.2 million barrels in the week to 230.2 million barrels, the EIA said, more than forecasts for a 614,000-barrel rise.

“It’s a supportive report, but not wildly bullish. If there’s any disappointment at all, it’s gasoline numbers,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “It shouldn’t be a total surprise because more people are staying at home.”

Gasoline product supplied by refiners is down by 9% over the past four weeks, and is down 13% for the entire year. Demand is anticipated to slip in coming weeks due to increased coronavirus infections in the United States.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to 142.6 million barrels, close to expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel drop, data showed.

Refining utilization rates rose 1.3 percentage points to 78.7% of total capacity.

Reporting By New York Energy Desk; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Gregorio