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Oil hits more than one-year high after surprise US crude draw

U.S. crude hit a more than one-year high on Wednesday after government data showed that U.S. crude stockpiles declined for the sixth time in seven weeks, as refinery activity fell and the country imported less crude.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were up $1.37, or 2.7 percent, at $53.05 a barrel by 10:52 a.m. ET (1452 GMT).

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were up $1.46, or 2.9 percent, at $51.75 a barrel, after touching $51.87, the highest level since July 16, 2015, when WTI hit $52.17.

U.S. commercial crude inventories fell by 5.2 million barrels to a total of 468.7 million barrels in the week through Oct. 14, the Energy Information Administration reported.

The American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade group, reported on Tuesday that U.S. crude stockpiles fell 3.8 million barrels in the week to Oct. 14. Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a 2.7-million barrel build.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 1.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.6 million-barrel decline, the EIA data showed. Gasoline stocks rose by 2.5 million barrels, compared with expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.3 million-barrel drop.

U.S. refinery rates dropped to 85 percent last week, the lowest level since...