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17

US Stockpiles Of Crude Up, Gasoline Down

The U.S. crude inventories rose slightly last week for the second straight period, but gasoline stockpiles fell unexpectedly

The U.S. crude-oil inventories rose slightly last week for the second straight period, but gasoline stockpiles fell unexpectedly for the first time in weeks, according to government data published Wednesday.

For the week ended March 14, crude-oil inventories rose by 200,000 barrels, or 0.1 percent, to 311.8 million barrels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report. The stockpiles were 3.7 percent below year-ago levels, and analysts had expected a gain of 2.1 million barrels, according to a survey by Dow Jones Newswires.

Gasoline inventories fell by 3.5 million barrels, or 1.5 percent, to 232.5 million barrels, which were 11.1 percent above year-ago levels. Analysts expected stockpiles of the motor fuel to rise by 300,000 barrels last week.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended March 14 was 0.1 percent lower than a year earlier, averaging nearly 9.1 million barrels a day.

At the same time, U.S. refineries ran at 83.8 percent of total capacity on average, a drop of 1.2 percentage points. Analysts expected a gain of 0.3 percentage point.

Inventories of distillate fuel, which includes diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.9 million barrels to 113.5 million barrels for the week ended March 14. Analysts expected distillate stocks to drop by only 1.4 million barrels.