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U.S. crude oil inventories last week fell more than forecast as refinery runs and exports rose, while gasoline stockpiles jumped unexpectedly on disappointing demand, Energy Information Administration data showed on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell 4.6 million barrels in the week to April 14 to 466 million barrels, more than quadruple analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.1 million-barrel drop.

Crude in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve fell 1.6 million barrels last week to just under 368 million barrels, its lowest since October 1983.

Meanwhile, crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures fell by 1.1 million barrels last week, the EIA said.

“The total crude oil inventory draw of over 6 million barrels between the SPR and commercial stocks is supportive of the market even though product inventories were scarcely changed,” said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLP in Houston, Texas.

Oil prices pared some losses after the report, with Brent crude futures trading down 1.3 per cent at $83.67 a barrel by 11:24 a.m. EDT (1624 GMT), and West Texas Intermediate crude trading 1.4 per cent lower at $79.73.

Net crude imports fell by 1.74 million barrels per day, EIA said, while exports rose by 1.84 million bpd.

Refinery runs jumped as spring maintenance season wrapped up, rising by 259,000 barrels per day. Refinery utilization rates rose by 1.7 percentage points to 91 per cent of total capacity, its highest rate since late December.

However, implied gasoline demand fell 3.9 per cent from year-ago levels to 8.5 million bpd.

“Gasoline demand was rather disappointing for a second week in a row, which is going to weigh on the markets,” Lipow added.

Weaker demand allowed U.S. gasoline stocks to build unexpectedly by 1.3 million barrels in the week to 223.5 million barrels, the EIA said. Analysts had expected gasoline to draw by 1.3 million barrels.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 400,000 barrels in the week to 112.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 900,000-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.

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