US crude oil supplies grow by 5.9 million barrels

NEW YORK (AP) — The nation's crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.

Crude supplies grew by 5.9 million barrels, or 1.6 percent, to 375.1 million barrels, which is 11.1 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report.

Analysts expected an increase of 1.7 million barrels for the week ended Oct. 19, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.

Gasoline supplies grew by 1.4 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 198.6 million barrels. That's 3.1 percent lower than year-ago levels. Analysts expected gasoline supplies to shrink by a million barrels.

Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Oct. 19 was 1.8 percent below a year ago, averaging 8.6 million barrels a day.

U.S. refineries ran at 87.2 percent of total capacity on average, down 0.2 percentage point from the prior week. Analysts expected capacity to increase to 87.8 percent.

Supplies of distillate fuel, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 600,000 barrels to 118 million barrels. Analysts expected distillate stocks to decline by 1.5 million barrels.

Benchmark crude futures fell $1.05 to $85.62 a barrel in New York.