Sept 17 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stocks rose unexpectedly last week as imports jumped and refineries cut output, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories rose, data from the Energy Information Administration showed on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose 3.7 million barrels in the week to Sept. 12, compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 1.6 million barrels.
The crude stock rise coincided with a 493,000-barrel-per-day increase in oil imports to 7.7 million bpd. The four-week import average is now the highest since November, according to the EIA data.
"The rise in crude oil imports seemed to foster the inventory gain, which came despite the persistently high refinery utilization rate at 93 percent," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.
Refinery utilization fell 0.9 percentage point but was still high at 93 percent of total capacity. East coast refinery throughput jumped 136,000 bpd last week to 1.18 million bpd, EIA data showed - the equivalent of a 10.2-percentage-point increase to 91.2 percent. It was outweighed by falls in rates across the rest of the country.
Gasoline stocks fell 1.6 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for a 257,000-barrel drop.
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 279,000 barrels, versus expectations for a 486,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.
Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell 357,000 barrels, EIA said.
U.S. crude oil prices extended losses after the report and were down 91 cents $93.97 by 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT). Brent crude turned negative, down 40 cents at $98.65