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WTI Inches Higher After EIA Reports Small Crude Inventory Build

Crude oil prices inched higher today after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory increase of 2.4 million barrels for the week to September 9.

This compared with a sizeable build of 8.8 million barrels estimated for the previous week. A day before the EIA released its report, the American Petroleum Institute estimated oil inventories had added more than 6 million barrels in the week to September 9.

In gasoline, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 1.8 million barrels for the reporting period. This compared with a modest increase of 400,000 barrels for the previous week.

Gasoline production averaged 9.5 million bpd last week, which compared with 9.9 million barrels daily a week earlier.

In middle distillates, the EIA reported an inventory increase of 4.2 million barrels for the week to September 9, which compared with a build of 100,000 barrels for the previous week.

Middle distillate production stood at an average 5 million bpd last week, which a little less than a week earlier.

Refineries processed 16 million bpd last week, which compared with 15.9 million bpd a week earlier.

Oil prices, meanwhile, have been pressured anew by the prospect of another Fed rate hike. After consumer price inflation surprised analysts by rising last month, the overwhelming expectation is that the Fed will announce another rate increase next week.

Earlier in the week, prices had inched higher on supply-related concerns and on an upbeat demand outlook from OPEC. In its latest monthly report, the cartel said it expected global oil demand to rise by 3.1 million bpd this year, slowing down to 2.7 million bpd in 2023, topping pre-pandemic levels.

On the other hand, China’s strict zero-Covid policy will curb the potential for any price rises as it directly affects demand in one of the world’s largest producers.

"China's zero-COVID policy remains intact and that will keep any rebounds that emerge over the coming weeks capped," Oanda analyst Edward Moya told Reuters this week.

At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $94.70 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate was changing hands for $89.03 per barrel.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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