WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Crude and refined products futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rallied in late morning trade Wednesday, lifting nearby month West Texas Intermediate 4% after federal data showed a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. commercial crude oil inventories and a surprise draw from distillate fuel supplies during the week ended April 9 while refiners hiked run rates to meet burgeoning product demand.
Near 11:45 a.m. ET, NYMEX May WTI futures surged $2.62 to trade near $63 per barrel (bbl) at $62.81 bbl and the June Brent contract on ICE advanced to $66.28 bbl. NYMEX May ULSD futures spiked 6.72 cents to $1.8812 gallon and NYMEX May RBOB advanced 5.72 cents or 3% to $2.0337 gallon.
U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed nationwide crude stockpiles dropped by 5.9 million bbl from the previous week to 492.4 million bbl, and now stand about 1% above the five-year average. The decline was bullish against expectations for a 2.5 million bbl drop and an estimate from the American Petroleum Institute showing a 3.608 million draw from inventory.
Domestic refiners hiked crude inputs to 15.1 million barrels per day (bpd), up 7,000 bpd from the previous week's average. The refining capacity utilization rate rose to 85% -- the highest since the week ended March 19, 2020.
U.S. crude oil production increased 100,000 bpd to 11 million bpd after an unexpected 200,000 bpd drop in the previous week, according to EIA.
In refined fuels, gasoline stockpiles increased by 309,000 bbl to 234.9 million bbl, roughly in line with consensus for inventories to rise by 300,000 bbl from the previous week while bullish against an API reported 5.565 million bbl.
Distillate stocks unexpectedly fell by 2.1 million bbl to 143.5 million bbl and are now 4% above the five-year average, the EIA said. Earlier in the week, analysts called for distillate supplies to rise by 1.1 million bbl.
Products supplied to the U.S. market, a measure for demand, increased by 1.092 million bpd from the previous week to 20.328 million bpd, nearly matching pre-pandemic levels. Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 19.6 million bpd, up 20% from the same period last year when the nationwide lockdown sapped economic activity and fuel demand.
U.S. gasoline consumption now stands at 8.944 million bpd -- the highest weekly demand rate since the week-ended March 12, 2020. Demand for distillates jumped 464,000 bpd from the previous week to above 4 million bpd at 4.128 million bpd.
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