U.S. crude oil stocks rose last week for the fifth consecutive week, while gasoline and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Oct. 24.
Crude inventories rose by 6.3 million barrels in the week to Oct. 19, compared with analyst expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels. In the last five weeks, overall U.S. stocks have risen to 422 million barrels, not including the country's strategic reserve, which holds about 656 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks fell by 4.8 million barrels, exceeding expectations for a 1.9 million-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, were also lower, dropping by 2.3 million barrels.
"The report is mixed due to the dueling large build in crude oil inventories and steep decline in gasoline and distillate fuels," said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.
Oil prices were higher, recovering from a sharp selloff on Oct. 23 after Saudi Arabia said it would keep the market well supplied. Crude futures have also been falling in tandem with weakness in worldwide equity markets.
Refinery crude runs fell by 48,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.4 percentage points, but overall utilization remains at a reduced level of 89.2% of capacity, with much of the reduction in capacity use coming from the Midwest and East Coast, where maintenance is ongoing.
"The uptick in refinery runs means that the refinery maintenance season is starting to slowly come to a close and we’re starting to turn the corner," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub rose by 1.4 million barrels, the EIA said.
Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 335,000 bbl/d.
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