Crude oil prices inched lower today, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an inventory draw of 4.6 million barrels for the week to April 14.
This compared with a modest build in crude oil inventories for the previous week, at 600,000 barrels. For the week before that, however, the EIA had estimated a sizeable draw of 3.7 million barrels.
In fuels, the EIA estimated mixed changes in inventories for the week ending April 14.
Gasoline inventories added 1.3 million barrels during that week, according to the EIA, with production averaging 9.5 million barrels daily.
This compared with an inventory decline of a modest 300,000 barrels and average daily production of 9.8 million barrels for the previous week.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory decline of 0.4 million barrels for the week to April 14, which compared with a draw of 600,000 barrels for the previous week.
Middle distillate production averaged 4.8 million barrels daily last week, which compared with 4.6 million barrels daily for the previous week.
A day before the EIA released its weekly report, the American Petroleum Institute estimated a 2.67-million-barrel draw in crude oil inventories for the week to April 14. The report pushed oil prices higher, but the gains were offset by concern about more rate hikes in the United States that could dampen demand for oil.
At the same time, strong GDP growth and oil refining data from China mitigated any major losses from the rate hike fears, stabilizing crude oil at around $84-85 per barrel for Brent and $80-81 for West Texas Intermediate.
China’s economy expanded at a rate of 4.5 percent during the first quarter, which was more than expected. Meanwhile, refining throughput rates in the world’s largest importer hit a record in March, ahead of the start of maintenance season. Both contributed strongly to higher oil prices.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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