Crude oil prices fell further today after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory build of 3 million barrels for the week to May 5.
This compared with an inventory draw of 1.3 million barrels estimated for the previous week.
A day before the EIA released its latest figures, the American Petroleum Institute reported a build in inventories of 3.62 million barrels contrary to expectations of another draw, pressuring prices.
At 462.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are 1% below the five-year average for this time of the year.
The EIA also reported hefty draws in fuel inventories for the week to May 5.
Gasoline inventories shed 3.2 million barrels in the period, with production averaging 9.8 million barrels daily.
This compared with an inventory build of 1.7 million barrels and a production rate of 9.4 million barrels daily for the previous week.
In middle distillates, the authority estimated an inventory decline of 4.2 million barrels and average production of 4.6 million barrels daily.
This compared with an inventory draw of 1.2 million barrels and a production rate of 4.6 million barrels daily.
A slowdown in both gasoline and diesel demand has fueled concern about future oil demand in the world’s largest economy although the slowdown in diesel demand has quenched concerns about a possible shortage.
Refineries processed 15.7 million barrels daily in the week to May 5, unchanged on a week earlier.
Prices, meanwhile, remained subdued until the release of the latest consumer price figures for the U.S. After the release of the latest monthly CPI, oil trended lower still, as the data showed inflation had remained stubbornly high although it fell by 0.4% on a monthly basis.
The Department of Energy provided some support for prices with an update from Energy Secretary Granholm, who said the department still planned to begin refilling the strategic petroleum reserve later this year, although she did not provide any specifics.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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