Oil markets stumble on a surprise U.S. crude inventory build-up

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report that U.S. crude production rose to 9.620 million barrels per day during the week of November 3, the highest weekly output on record according to federal energy data going back to 1983.

Crude inventories rose 2.2 million barrels in the week to November 3, contrary to analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.9 million barrels. Unprecedented flooding from the Category 4 storm that slammed into the state's coast last week, sending gasoline prices surging as oil refineries shut, may also set a record for rainfall in the contiguous US, the weather service said Tuesday.

Dec. WTI oil was down 39 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at USD56.81/oz on Nymex, trimming strong recent gains.

Gasoline stockpiles fell 3.3 million barrels to 209.5 million barrels, while analysts in the survey were expecting levels to fall by 1.8 million barrels from the previous week.

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Oil prices settled slightly lower on Wednesday after US government data showed rising domestic crude production, a surprise build in USA stockpiles and a decline in monthly Chinese crude imports, a triple blow that was offset somewhat by rising tensions in the Middle East. Distillate inventories, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, were seen down 1.4 million barrels last week, the poll showed.

Refinery crude runs rose 290,000 bpd as utilization rates increased 1.5 percentage points to 89.6 percent of total refining capacity, EIA data showed.

At 125.6 million barrels, nationwide distillate inventories were at their lowest since February, 2014.

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