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Crude oil storage tanks stand at the Cushing oil hub on April 21, 2020.

Dronebase Dronebase/Reuters

U.S. crude oil inventories rose unexpectedly last week while gasoline and distillate stockpiles fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

Crude inventories rose by 4.3 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 6 to 488.7 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a decrease of 913,000 barrels.

“The headline crude number was a shock because most people were looking for a draw. It was especially a bigger shock after the API report showed the exact opposite,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

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Tuesday’s industry figures from the American Petroleum Institute showed a crude stock decline of 5.1 million barrels.

The news caused oil prices to pull back from the day’s gains, though benchmark crude was still higher. U.S. crude was up 0.9 per cent at $41.81 a barrel as of 11:38 a.m. ET, while Brent rose 0.6 per cent to $44.05 a barrel.

Refinery crude runs fell by 105,000 barrels per day, data showed.

Fuel demand rebounded in the most recent week, with total product supplied rising to 20.2 million bpd. Those figures are volatile, however, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. fuel demand as measured by refinery product supplied is still down 12.6 per cent in 2020, compared with last year.

Gasoline stocks fell by 2.3 million barrels, far exceeding analysts' expectations for a 263,000-barrel decline.

Distillate fuels stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 5.4 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 1.9 million-barrel drop.

U.S. crude imports fell last week by 30,000 bpd to 2.7 million bpd.

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