(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell as U.S. refineries reduced their crude use by the most in almost four months.
Plants processed 2 percent less crude in the seven days ended May 8 than the previous week, the Energy Information Administration said in a report on Wednesday. The refinery utilization rate fell by 1.8 percentage points. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a gain.
Oil has recovered from a six-year low in March as U.S. companies reduced the number of active rigs to the fewest since September 2010, bolstering speculation that output will slow. Production was little changed last week, the EIA report showed, while crude inventories fell for a second week. Prices gained earlier as the dollar slumped to a four-month low.
“The downtick in the refinery utilization could allow oil inventories to rebuild in the coming weeks,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “That was a bit of a surprise.”
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 25 cents to close at $60.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier climbing as much as 1.8 percent. The volume of all futures traded was about 12 percent above the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have advanced 14 percent this year.
Brent for June settlement, which expires Thursday, slipped 5 cents to $66.81 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $6.31 to WTI.
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