June 5, 2012 / 8:57 PM / 5 years ago

US crude stocks drop, fuel stocks rise as refiners rev up- API

NEW YORK, June 5 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks fell more than expected last week while gasoline and distillate inventories jumped as refiners revved up operations more quickly than forecast, data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 1.765 million barrels in the week to June 1, the API said, compared with analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a draw of 500,000 barrels. The drop in crude stocks was the second weekly reduction reported by the API since a string of successive builds.

But gasoline inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels last week, double analysts' forecasts. Refinery operations rose by 1.5 percentage point to 88 percent of capacity last week, compared with forecasts for a 0.6 percentage point rise. Crude oil imports also declined last week by 355,000 bpd.

"The report is somewhat bearish. The rise in refined products assuages some of the perceived tightness in the market, although gasoline supplies continue to be challenged in the Northeast," John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC.

Domestic distillate stockpiles rose by 1.8 million barrels, compared with analyst forecasts for a 300,000-barrel build.

Crude stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for West Texas Intermediate crude, rose by 929,000 barrels, despite expectations that the mid-May start-up of the newly reversed Seaway pipeline may help drain the storage hub of excess oil.

"Looking at this report, the supply coming to Cushing may continue to outpace attempts to move inventories to the Gulf Coast refining center, limiting WTI gains," said Kilduff.

U.S. crude oil prices were unmoved by the day.U.S. crude for July delivery settled at $84.29 a barrel earlier in the day, rising 31 cents, or 0.37 percent in muted trade. (Reporting by Jonathan Leff and Robert Gibbons; Editing by David Gregorio)

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