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NEW YORK: US crude stockpiles rose sharply while gasoline and distillate inventories fell last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Thursday.

Crude inventories rose by 4.5 million barrels in the week to Feb. 18 to 416 million barrels, much more than analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 400,000-barrel build.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 2 million barrels in the last week, the EIA said.

Refinery crude runs rose by 344,000 barrels per day and utilization rates rose by 2.1 percentage points.

US gasoline stocks fell by about 600,000 barrels in the week to 246.48 million barrels, the EIA said, much less than forecasts for a 1.4 million-barrel draw.?

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by about 600,000 barrels in the week to 119.68 million barrels, also lower than expectations for a 1.8 million-barrel drop, EIA data showed.

Net US crude imports rose last week by 623,000 bpd, the EIA said.

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