U.S. crude inventories fall sharply as refiners resume activity, EIA says


November 16 (Reuters) – U.S. crude inventories have fallen by more than 5 million barrels in the past week, while fuel inventories have risen as refiners ramped up production to meet strong demand and at low inventory.

Crude inventories (USOILC=ECI) fell 5.4 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 11 to 435.4 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, down from expectations in a Reuters poll for a drop of 440,000 barrels.

“The decline in crude supplies is substantial. Crude supply is still very tight, fuel oil supply is still below average,” said Phil Flynn, principal analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “My hunch is that this is a very favorable report, it shows that supplies are very tight.”

Refinery Crude Cycles (USOICR=ECI) resumed in the most recent week, increasing by 63,000 barrels per day to bring refinery utilization rates (USOIRU=ECI) to 92.9% of overall capacity, up 0.8 percentage points.

Fuel inventories rose across the board, a balm for end users worried about low inventories that have persisted for several months across the country.

U.S. Gasoline Stocks (USOILG=ECI) rose 2.2 million barrels during the week to 207.9 million barrels, against expectations for a rise of 310,000 barrels.

Distillate stocks (USOILD=ECI)which includes diesel and fuel oil, rose 1.1 million barrels during the week to 107.4 million barrels, versus an expected decline of 513,000 barrels.

Oil prices were lower on the day, although they pared some losses after the report. Brent crude fell $1.35, or 1.4%, to $92.51 as of 10:52 a.m. EST (1552 GMT), while U.S. crude fell $1.85 a barrel, or 2.1%, to $85.07.

Net imports of U.S. crude (USOICI=ECI) fell 1.24 million barrels per day, the EIA said.

Crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub (USOICC=ECI) fell 1.6 million barrels.

Reporting by David Gaffen; Editing by Will Dunham

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