Crude oil prices rose today shortly after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory increase of 5.5 million barrels for the week to February 2.
This compared with a build of 1.2 million barrels for the previous week that depressed oil prices.
On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute estimated crude oil inventories had added a modest 674,000 barrels in the week to February 2, much less than the 2.13 million barrels that analysts expected inventories to have added during the period.
In fuels, the EIA reported a draw in gasoline stocks and another in distillate stocks
Gasoline stocks shed 3.1 million barrels in the week to February 2, which compared with a build of 1.2 million barrels for the previous week.
Gasoline production averaged 9 million barrels per day last week, which compared with 9.3 million barrels daily a week earlier.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory draw of 3.2 million barrels for the week to February 2, compared with a draw of 2.5 million barrels for the week before that.
Middle distillate production stood at an average 4.4 million bpd last week, virtually unchanged on a week earlier.
The API had reported a build of some 3.65 million barrels in gasoline stocks and a 3.7-million-barrel draw in middle distillate inventories for the week to February 2.
Reuters market analyst John Kemp, meanwhile, reported that diesel prices were set for a spike this year because of below-average inventories. The spike, however, would only happen if the U.S. and European economies reverse the economic slowdown that marked last year.
Kemp had earlier written that manufacturing activity in the United States was on the rebound, suggesting a further tightening of the below-average stocks of diesel fuel, which would have a fast effect on prices.
Oil prices, in the meantime, were on the rise earlier today, following the API’s release of its inventory estimates. Contributing to the rise was a report from the EIA that forecast a sharp slowdown in oil production growth in the country this year.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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