UPDATE 1-U.S. crude stockpiles fall even as imports jump - EIA

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Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell last week even as net imports jumped sharply, while fuel demand dipped as well, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories fell by 1.6 million barrels in the week to Aug. 14 to 512.5 million barrels, less than analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.7 million-barrel drop.

Net U.S. crude imports rose by 1.1 million barrels per day to 3.6 million bpd, the EIA said.

Fuel demand dropped by more than 2 million bpd to 17.2 million bpd in terms of product supplied. Overall fuel demand is down 14% from the year-ago period over the last four weeks.

As the summer driving season comes to a close, overall fuel demand tends to decline.

Prices rose briefly following the report. U.S. crude futures were down 26 cents, or 0.6%, to $42.63 a barrel by 11:01 a.m. ET (1501 GMT), while Brent dropped 37 cents to $45.09 a barrel.

Refinery crude runs fell by 171,000 bpd in the last week, EIA said, while refinery utilization rates fell by 0.1 percentage point.

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 3.3 million barrels to 243.8 million barrels, the EIA said, compared with analysts’ expectations for a 1.1 million-barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 152,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 557,000-barrel drop. Overall distillate stockpiles sit at 177.8 million barrels, just off a 38-year-high set last month.

“It is concerning that distillate inventories continue to remain at very high levels as refiners blend excess jet fuel supplies into diesel,” said Andrew Lipow, president at Lipow Oil Associates in Houston. (Reporting By David Gaffen; additional reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy)