Demand for U.S. petroleum eased last week after strong summer gains overall, while domestic production inched up but held far below pre-pandemic levels.

Stockpiles of U.S. crude decreased slightly, however, as imports also declined, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.

Commercial oil inventories in the week ended Aug. 6 — excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — fell by 400,000 bbl from the previous week. At 438.8 million bbl, U.S. stocks are 6% below the five-year average, roughly on par with the deficit through most of the summer, EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report showed.

Oil output averaged 11.3 million b/d last week, up from 11.2 million b/d the prior week. However, production held far lower than the early 2020 peak of 13.1...