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U.S. crude stocks build less than expected as Cushing draws – EIA

NEW YORK – U.S. crude inventories rose last week to hit a record high for the 16th straight week but the build was smaller than expected as supplies at the Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub declined for the first time since November, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday.

Crude stockpiles rose 1.9 million barrels to 490.91 million in the week to April 24, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 2.3 million barrels.

Crude stocks at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. crude futures, fell 514,000 barrels, the EIA said. The decline at Cushing was the first since Nov. 28, according to EIA data.

U.S. crude for June delivery extended gains after the EIA report and was up $1.40 at $58.46 a barrel at 11:05 a.m. EDT (1505 GMT), after posting a fresh 2015 peak at $58.55.

Brent June crude was up $1.06 at $65.70, having reached a 2015 peak at $65.92.

Industry group the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a crude build of 4.2 million barrels on Tuesday.

Related: Tank tops? Cushing isn’t the whole oil market: Kemp

“The under 2 million-barrel build is less than half of what the API had prepped the market for, so not surprisingly we’re getting higher price action here,” said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

“The Cushing draw also adds fuel to the run, though the market seem to be picking and choosing what to respond to, like ignoring the gains in production to focus on the draws and smaller builds,” McGillian added.

Refinery crude runs rose 118,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.1 percentage point to 91.3 percent of capacity.

Utilization in the East Coast region, which includes the New York Harbor, the delivery point for U.S. refined products futures contracts, jumped 3.9 percentage points to 90.9 percent, the highest level for the week at least since data was made available by the EIA in 2010.

Gasoline stocks rose 1.7 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 217,000-barrel gain.

“The large rise in gasoline inventories was unexpected, and it is the most important element of the report due to the impending driving season focus,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 66,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 1.2 million-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

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