Crude oil prices moved higher today, after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory draw of 6.1 million barrels for the week to August 18.
This compared with a decline of a substantial 6 million barrels for the previous week, which in turn followed a build of almost identical size for the week before that.
At 433.5 million barrels as of August 18, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories are 2% below the five-year average for this time of the year, the EIA said.
In fuels, the authority estimated a gasoline stock build and a middle distillate inventory increase for the week to August 18.
Gasoline inventories added 1.5 million barrels in the reporting period, which compared with a minor draw of some 300,000 barrels for the previous week. Gasoline production averaged 9.7 million bpd last week, compared with 9.6 million bpd for the previous week.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory build of 900,000 barrels for the week to August 18. Production was seen at 5.1 million barrels daily.
These figures compared with an inventory build of a modest 300,000 barrels for the previous week, with production during that week averaging 4.7 million barrels daily.
Oil prices, meanwhile, remain bound by worry about another U.S. rate hike and China economic indicators.
"Investors are reluctant to take big positions ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium as they want to find clues for the next step by the U.S. Federal Reserve," a Nissan Securities analyst told Reuters.
"Concerns over higher interest rates and sluggish demand in China are expected to outweigh tightening supply from OPEC+ in the short term," Hiroyuki Kikukawa also said.
“Growing expectations that the US Fed still has more to do with its tightening cycle, along with broader strength in the US dollar, has left the oil market facing some strong headwinds,” ING commodities research head Warren Patterson said, as quoted by Bloomberg.
Patterson added that “However, given that fundamentals remain constructive, we believe any price weakness will be relatively short-lived.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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