Oil prices pushed up closer to $50 today ahead of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) release of crude inventory data, but were trading slightly lower after the official numbers showed U.S. stockpiles down by another 900,000 barrels for the week ended 17 June.
Down 0.9 million barrels from the previous week, the EIA said U.S. crude oil inventory was at 530.6 million barrels.
Prior to the EIA data release, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for August delivery was trading up 0.7 percent at $50.20 per barrel, but dropped to $49.75 after the EIA news.
Late on Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories had fallen by 5.2 million barrels for the previous week, and that gasoline supplies fell by 1.5 million. Analysts had estimated a decrease of around 1.6 million barrels in crude inventories.
According to the EIA, total motor gasoline inventories increased by 0.6 million barrels last week—and remain “well above the upper limit of the average range”. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week, and distillate fuel inventories increased by 0.2 million barrels. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 5.2 million barrels last week. Related: Saudi Oil Exports Reach Six-Month Low
Refiners were operating last week at 91.3 percent of their capacity, with U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaging 16.5 million barrels per day. Gasoline production increased, averaging 10.3 million barrels per day.
At the same time, U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 8.4 million barrels per day—up by 817,000 barrels per day from the week prior.
“Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged 7.9 million barrels per day, 13.6 percent above the same four-week period last year,” the EIA report noted.
By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
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