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US crude stockpiles fell by the most this year data on Wednesday showed at a time when refinery demand typically begins to pick up.

Inventories of US crude fell by 2.2m barrels in the week ended April 7, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. That compared with expectations for a smaller draw of 772,220 barrels and represented the first drop in four weeks. At 533.4m barrels US crude stocks inched lower from the record levels.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.9m barrels per day last week, up by 28,000
barrels per day from the previous week.

Meanwhile, stocks at Cushing, Oklahoma, a key delivery hub rose by 276,000 barrels, compared with expectations for a build of 399,930 barrels.

Inventories of gasoline, the stuff that crude is refined into, fell for the eight consecutive week, sliding by nearly 3m barrels, against estimates for a draw of 1.27m barrels.

The news came hours after Opec said its output – based on secondary sources – decreased by 152,700 b/d to 31.9m b/d last month, led by declines in Libya, Nigeria, the UAE and Iran.

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