08 June 2017, New York — U.S. stocks of crude oil and gasoline surprisingly rose last week as refinery runs declined and exports fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the week ended June 2, compared with expectations for a decrease of 3.5 million barrels, the first such increase in 10 weeks.
It came as refineries edged off record processing levels reached the week earlier, though U.S. refiners are still producing at a very high rate.
The data surprised analysts, and undercut the belief that inventories were finally showing steady progress toward drawing down to seasonal averages. U.S. crude futures fell sharply, dropping more than 4 percent to $46.12 a barrel as of 11:04 a.m. ET.
“Crude, gasoline and distillates inventories are all at or above the top of their five-year ranges; supply remains plentiful,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData in Louisville, Kentucky.
Gasoline stocks rose by 3.3 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 580,000 barrels gain. Gasoline blendstock futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell about 4 percent after the data was released.
“Normally, gasoline stocks are supposed to decline at this time of the year due to strong demand,” said Carsten Fritsch, oil analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, Germany.
Refinery crude runs fell by 283,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed, to 17.2 million barrels per day, from the previous week’s record 17.5 million b/d rate. Refinery utilization rates fell by 0.9 percentage points to 94.1 percent, which is still seasonally strong.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.4 million barrels, the EIA said.
U.S. exports were also down sharply, though that figure tends to fluctuate on a week-to-week basis. Overall exports fell to 557,000 b/d from a record 1.3 million b/d the week previous.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 4.4 million barrels, versus expectations for a 281,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
U.S. crude imports rose last week by 1.1 million barrels per day.
*Jessica Resnick-Ault, Editing: Chizu Nomiyama – Reuters