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Crude oil prices moved lower today after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an inventory build of 1.6 million barrels for the week to March 10.

This compared with an inventory decline of 1.7 million barrels estimated for the previous week and the first decline in crude oil inventories since the start of the year.

At 480.1 million barrels, crude oil inventories are 7 percent above the five-year seasonal average, the EIA said.

In gasoline, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 2.1 million barrels for the week to March 10, with production at 9.1 million barrels per day.

This compared with an inventory draw of 1.1 million barrels for the previous week and average daily production of 9.6 million barrels.

In middle distillates, the EIA reported an inventory decline of 2.5 million barrels for the week to March 10, with production averaging 4.4 million barrels daily.

This compared with a modest inventory build of 100,000 barrels and average daily production of 4.5 million barrels daily for the week to March 3.

Oil prices meanwhile took a dive earlier this week after the news of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank broke at the end of last week, followed by another bank's collapse. Inflation worries about the United States also weighed on benchmarks, causing both Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate to fall below $80 per barrel.

Yet earlier today prices began to recover following an update by OPEC about Chinese oil demand. The cartel said it expected demand for crude from China to rise by 710,000 barrels daily this year. This was an update from a forecast demand increase of 590,000 bpd for China in OPEC's last month report.

However, OPEC also cautioned against too much optimism about oil demand: "The rapid rises in interest rates and global debt levels could cause significant negative spill-over effects, and may negatively impact the global growth dynamic," the producer group said.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. More