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US crude stocks declined for the third straight week while inventories of gasoline climbed more than expected for the second week in a row.

Inventories of US crude fell by a larger-than-expect 3.6m barrels in the week ended April 21, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, compared with expectations for a draw of 1.14m barrels. This marked the longest streak of back-to-back draws in crude stocks since December and at 528.7m barrels US oil levels are near record levels.

The drop came even as imports averaged over 8.9m barrels per day last week, up by 1.1m barrels per day from the previous week.

Meanwhile stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, a key delivery hub, dropped by 1.2m barrels, against expectations for a decline of 488,000 barrels.

Stockpiles of gasoline, one of the products that crude is refined into, rose by 3.4m barrels eclipsing estimates for a build of 140,450 barrels.

Oil prices reversed their losses after the data showed a larger than expected draw in US crude stocks with West Texas Intermediate, the US crude market rising 0.6 per cent to $49.84 a barrel, while Brent rose 0.2 per cent to $52.65 a barrel.

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