NEW YORK, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Oil prices fell almost 2 percent on Wednesday after a huge drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles was offset by a larger-than-expected build in gasoline and distillates, which include diesel.
Crude inventories fell 5.5 million barrels in the week to Aug. 21, the biggest one-week decline since early June, according to U.S. government data that countered a Reuters poll of analysts calling a rise of 1 million barrels.
Gasoline stocks also rose, by 1.7 million barrels versus forecasts for a 1.3 million-barrel drop, the data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed. Distillates climbed by 1.4 million barrels, against expectations for a 1.0 million barrels increase.
"The products builds are overwhelming the constructive crude draw," said Scott Shelton, commodities specialist at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.
U.S. crude's front-month contract settled down 71 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $38.60 a barrel.
The front-month in Brent, the global oil benchmark, finished down 7 cents at $43.14, after initially trading higher right after the EIA data.
Gasoline's front-month tumbled for a third straight session to 7-month lows, settling down 6 percent on the day and 12 percent on the week. Gasoline's crack <RB-CL1=R>, or premium that refiners make from turning a barrel of crude into the fuel, fell to its lowest in six months.
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