During the week ended May 26, reserves swelled by 4.5 million barrels, while analysts saw them fall by 1.5 million.
Commercial crude oil reserves rose sharply last week in the United States, according to figures released by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) on Thursday, driven in particular by an increase in imports.
During the week ended May 26, commercial inventories swelled by 4.5 million barrels, while analysts saw them fall by 1.5 million, according to a consensus established by the Bloomberg agency.
This increase in stocks comes after an exceptional drop the week before, which had seen reserves melt by more than 12 million barrels.
The increase recorded last week is somewhat offset by the fact that the government has further drawn on the strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) which fell by 2.5 million barrels to stand at 355.4 million.
Crude imports increased by 1.3 million barrels per day.
The utilization rate of American refineries also increased to 93.1% against 91.7% the week before.
Gasoline reserves fell slightly (-0.2 million) while analysts were betting on a decline of 1.1 million. Those of distilled products increased by 1 million as expected.
US crude production fell slightly to 12.2 million barrels per day, from 12.3 million the previous week.
Demand eased to 19.4 million barrels per day from 20.7 million the previous week.
On average over four weeks, an indicator closely monitored by operators, deliveries of gasoline, kerosene and distilled products are higher than those of last year at the same time.
Despite the unexpected increase in crude inventories, prices were on the rise after the sharp declines of the past few days.
The barrel of Brent from the North Sea, for delivery in August, which is the first day of use as a benchmark contract, took 2.58% to 74.47 dollars.
Its American equivalent, the barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in July, gained 3.25% to 70.30 dollars around 3:40 p.m. GMT.
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