NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - U.S. crude inventories soared last week to extend their record build into the eleventh consecutive week as stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub also hit another peak, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose 8.2 million barrels to 466.7 million last week, another 80-year high record, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 5.1 million barrels.
Crude stocks at Cushing rose 1.9 million barrels to 56.3 million barrels, the EIA said, a 16th straight build adding on last week’s record high level of storage.
But the EIA noted in a report released earlier this week that capacity additions at Cushing meant that while the amount of crude was at a record high, it was still only at 77 percent of capacity at the end of the previous reporting period on March 13.
U.S. May crude briefly turned negative after the data but was up 52 cents at $48.03 a barrel at 11:29 a.m. EDT (1529 GMT). Brent May crude was up 54 cents at $55.65 a barrel.
“The (inventory) numbers tell us that if it weren’t for the dollar being down today, oil would be down a lot more,” said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors in Laurel Hollow in New York.
Ahead of the EIA report, crude futures were lifted as the euro strengthened against the dollar following a boost in business morale in the euro zone’s top two economies.
“I’m kind of happy that we saw this little strength this morning as it will help me sell into it, but it will be dollar-driven action today,” Zahir said.
“These are bearish numbers, definitely bearish,” he added.
The build in crude oil inventories came even as crude imports fell 129,000 barrels per day and refinery crude runs rose 94,000 bpd, EIA data showed. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.9 percentage point to 89 percent of capacity.
Gasoline stocks fell 2 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.6 million-barrel drop.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 34,000 barrels versus expectations for a 833,000-barrel-drop, the EIA data showed. (Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault, Robert Gibbons and Barani Krishnan in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)