US oil stocks drop to their lowest level since October 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil inventories fell more-than-expected last week to their lows since October 2018, but gasoline inventories rose amid weak demand, the Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.

Crude oil inventories fell 4.6 million barrels in the week ending January 7 to 413.3 million barrels, while analysts interviewed by Reuters had expected a drop of 1.9 million barrels.

This is the seventh consecutive weekly decline in US oil stocks.

Oil stocks at the Cushing delivery hub fell by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

The withdrawal from oil inventories occurred despite the decline in refinery activity, with a reduction in crude oil consumption by 294,000 barrels per day, and operating rates have fallen by 1.4 percentage points in the past week.

The government agency said U.S. gasoline inventories increased by eight million barrels in the past week to 240.8 million barrels, while an increase of 2.4 million barrels was expected.

Gasoline supplies fell to 7.9 million barrels per day last week, the lowest level since February 2021.

Stocks of distillates, which include diesel and fuel oil, increased by 2.5 million barrels, compared to expectations of an increase of 1.8 million barrels.

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, net imports of US crude oil increased 784,000 barrels per day last week to 4.11 million barrels per day.

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