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U.S. crude stockpiles likely fell last week, products build again

(Reuters) – U.S. crude oil inventories were forecast to have declined last week, while analysts expected a build in refined products, the third weekly increase in a row, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Six analysts polled by Reuters estimated, on average, that crude stocks fell 3.3 million barrels in the week to Jan. 4. The poll took place ahead of reports from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Crude inventories rose by 7,000 barrels in the week to Dec. 28, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 3.1 million barrels, the EIA said last week.

The API is scheduled to release its data for the latest week at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT) on Tuesday, and the weekly EIA report is due at 10:30 a.m. EST on Wednesday.

Analysts estimated that stockpiles of gasoline rose about 3.5 million barrels last week.

Distillate inventories, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, were seen up about 2.7 million barrels in the past week, the poll showed.

The rate of refinery utilization was expected to fall 0.4 percentage point from 97.2 percent of total capacity in the week ended Dec. 28, according to the poll.

Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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