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New York — US crude oil exports increased by 582,000 b/d last week to 2.331 million b/d, an all-time high, Energy Information Administration Administration data showed Wednesday.

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The push to ship more crude abroad follows the ICE Brent/WTI spread widening from around $3/b in early March to more than $6/b this week. The previous record-high was set the week ending March 30 at 2.175 million b/d.

Despite higher exports, imports also increased and refinery utilization fell leading to a surprise build in crude stocks of 2.17 million barrels the week ending April 20, according to EIA data.

Crude futures weakened following the release of the weekly EIA data. At 1456 GMT, NYMEX June crude was 5 cents lower at $67.65/b. ICE June Brent was 31 cents lower at $73.55/b.



Before the release, NYMEX crude was 11 cents higher at $67.81/b, while ICE Brent was 10 cents lower at $73.76/b.

Crude imports increased 720,000 b/d last week to 8.469 million b/d, while refinery utilization declined 1.6 percentage points to 90.8% of capacity.

US distillate stocks decreased 2.611 million barrels to 122.729 million barrels. For the same period, stocks increased by 316,000 barrels on average between 2013 and 2017.

NYMEX May ULSD was down 20 points at $2.1256/gal. Ahead of the EIA data, NYMEX May ULSD was 5 points higher at $2.1281/gal.

US gasoline stocks increased 840,00 barrels to 236.807 million barrels, compared with an average build of almost 500,000 barrels from 2013-17.

At 1456 GMT, NYMEX May RBOB was 1.55 cents lower at $2.0794/gal. Before the release of the EIA data, NYMEX May RBOB was down 44 points at $2.0905/gal.

Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts were looking for a decline in crude stocks of 1.1 million barrels. Refinery utilization was expected to have decreased by 0.2 percentage point.

Distillate stocks were expected to have been unchanged last week, while analysts were looking for a 500,000-barrel draw in gasoline stocks.

The American Petroleum Institute data released Tuesday evening showed a build in crude stocks of 1.099 million barrels for the week ended April 20.

Gasoline and distillate stocks fell 2.724 million barrels and 1.911 million barrels, respectively, the API data also showed.

--Geoffrey Craig, geoffrey.craig@spglobal.com

--Edited by Maurice Geller, newsdesk@spglobal.com