EIA: US Crude Inventories Post Surprise Draw, Fuel Stocks Rise

(Reuters) — U.S. crude stocks posted a surprise draw in the last week, helped by strong export demand and low imports, while gasoline and distillate inventories rose, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

Crude inventories USOILC=ECI fell by 3.8 million barrels to 463.3 million barrels in the week to June 16, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 300,000-barrel rise.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub USOICC=ECI fell 98,000 barrels, EIA said.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was down $2.7 or 3.7% at $69.81 a barrel by 1520 GMT and global benchmark Brent fell $2.68 or 3.5% to $74.50 as markets shrugged off the inventory dip and focused on interest rate hikes that could hurt demand. O/R

"The crude oil and refined product market is simply being weighed down by higher interest rates, and demand is not going to materialize as fast as hoped," said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

U.S. crude oil exports climbed to 4.5 million barrels per day last week, while imports fell about 50% to 1.6 million barrels per day.

"A rebound in crude exports, dip in imports, and ongoing strength in refining activity have encouraged a draw to crude inventories," said Matt Smith, a lead oil analyst at Kpler.

"Offsetting this modestly supportive print has been minor builds to the products," he added.

U.S. gasoline stocks USOILG=ECI rose by 500,000 barrels in the week to 221.4 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 100,000-barrel increase.​

Stocks of distillates USOILD=ECI, which include diesel and heating oil, climbed 400,000 barrels in the week to 114.3 million barrels, versus expectations for a 700,000-barrel rise, the EIA data showed.

Refinery crude runs USOICR=ECI fell by 116,000 barrels per day in the last week, EIA said. Refinery utilization rates USOIRU=ECI were down 0.6 percentage points at 93.1%.

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