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Oil Falls After API Reports Surprise Gasoline Inventory Build

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The American Petroleum Institute’s weekly report on inventories included numbers largely in line with expectations, with a 2.3 million barrel crude oil draw tallied for the 7-day period ending on 15 July.

Gasoline showed a larger build than had been anticipated, with 800,000 barrels in increased inventories instead of a 500,000-barrel drop in stockpiles.

Oil futures moved lower in electronic trading on Tuesday, stabilizing at a 10-week low, after the data began affecting the markets. August crude stood at $44.56 at the time of this article’s writing.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report will release on Wednesday and analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect a 1.25 million barrel decline in crude inventories.

The API’s report last Tuesday showed that crude oil supplies rose to their highest point in ten weeks despite expectations of a 3 million barrel draw.

The institute said crude oil had defied the anticipated draw, recording a 2.2 million barrel build, however, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a 2.5-million-barrel reduction in U.S. crude oil inventories a day later, once again contradicting the American Petroleum Institute (API) figures, indicating an inventory increase of 2.2 million barrels.

The EIA publishes the official inventory data and is considered the primary source for these figures.

Analysts expectations last week had been for a 3-million-barrel draw, so when the API reported a 2.2-million-barrel move in the opposite direction, the markets responded, sending crude oil prices downward again.

The prices had seen gains since last week following new Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) data showing that, according to Reuters, “the market was likely to achieve balance in supply-demand by next year.”

Oil prices jumped prior to the last API report and rose by nearly 5 percent, which represents their biggest gains since last April 8. Brent crude futures rose US$2.22, or 4.8 percent, to close at US$48.47 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose US$2.04, or 4.6 percent, to end the day at US$46.80.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • Trevor Smiley on July 20 2016 said:
    People reflexively sell, and prices briefly drop, when the inventory goes down a bit. This is a mistake and misleading, however. The US still imports millions of barrels a day, so net changes in inventory come from import levels. Inventory drops do not reflect under-production. Companies add to storage when they expect prices to go up to more than compensate for storage costs. They take oil out of storage when they expect price declines. So inventory drops can actually be bearish, in that they reflect the industries expectation of price declines.

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