U.S. crude stocks last week rose for the fourth straight week though low import levels kept the increase below expectations, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). The API showed crude stocks gained more than 1.8 million barrels for the week ending November 24, pulling the year-on-year deficit down to just 8.2 million barrels from nearly 30 million less than a month ago.
Oil prices fell on news of the stockbuild, dipping 22 cents to $34/barrel. Analysts had expected a bigger build of around three million barrels, expecting that some 30 million barrels of crude that President Clinton ordered to be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would now be hitting storage tanks
The API figures showed the SPR release had deterred imported crudes, reporting low crude imports of just 7.67 million bpd.