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Stocks of US crude climbed the most since October, advancing for the fifth consecutive week as oil imports surged.
Inventories of US crude rose by 13.8m barrels in the week ended February 4, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration. That was below a Reuters poll for a build of 2.53m barrels and follows last week’s increase of 6.47m barrels.
At 508.6m barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year, the EIA said on Wednesday. The bigger-than-expected build came as oil imports climbed by 1.1m barrels per day to average about 9.4m bpd last week.
Meanwhile, stockpiles of gasoline, the stuff that crude is refined in to, unexpectedly fell by 869,000 barrels, compared with expectations of a rise of 1.1m barrels.
Data released late on Tuesday by American Petroleum Institute, the industry group, had shown a 14.2m rise in US crude supply.
Ahead of the release, West Texas Intermediate, the US crude marker, slid 0.8 per cent to $51.74 a barrel, while Brent crude, the global oil marker, declined 0.6 per cent to $54.71 a barrel.
Oil prices have slipped in recent days as a rise in the number of operational oil rigs has raised concerns about US crude supply offsetting the output curbs agreed to by Opec and other non-cartel members like Russia.