The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a draw of 1.3 million barrels in United States crude oil inventories, compared to analyst expectations for a crude oil build of 125,000 barrels.
API also reported a significant gasoline inventory draw of 3.7 million barrels, compared to predictions of a 1.8-million-barrel draw.
Distillates saw a 1.6-million-barrel draw compared to an expected 1.3-million-barrel draw for the fuel.
Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, site fell by 358,000 barrels, following last week’s 1.34-million-barrel build.
Oil prices rose to five-week highs after Friday’s reports of U.S.-ordered airstrikes against Syrian infrastructure, followed by production outages from Libya’s largest oilfield, and late-breaking news on Tuesday that suggested Saudi Arabia would support OPEC production cuts. Despite the overarching sentiment that the American Petroleum Institute would report a build late Tuesday afternoon, WTI was trading up 0.36% at $53.27 at 1:20pm EST, while Brent Crude traded at $56.03, up .09% on the day. These per-barrel prices are more than $2.00 higher than this time last week.
This week’s draw in crude oil inventories is only the sixth draw in the last 15 weeks, using API data, with the API still reporting an overall hefty build over the previous 15 weeks of roughly 37.9 million barrels.
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The disconnect between the API’s and EIA’s data is significant, with the EIA reported only two draws over the last fourteen weeks, with a total build of 49.5 million in that timeframe.
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Tomorrow at 10:30am EST, traders will be hanging on the EIA data to see if it agrees with this week’s draw as reported by the API.
For now, the market seems satisfied with the API’s reported draw. At 4:58pm EST, WTI was trading up 0.6% on the day at $53.40, and Brent Crude was trading up .46% at $56.24. OPEC will also release its Monthly Oil Market Report tomorrow—another market mover that is expected to push up prices as early reports show that OPEC over-complied in March.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for US-based Divergente LLC consulting firm, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.