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Oil Prices Fall Following Large Fuel Inventory Build

Crude oil prices fell slightly today after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory decline of 5.2 million barrels for the week to June 4.

A day earlier, the American Petroleum Institute had reported an inventory draw of over 2.1 million barrels for the period.

Analysts had expected the EIA to report an inventory draw of 3.576 million barrels, after last week the EIA estimated inventories had shrunk by over 5 million barrels for the last full week of May.

Oil has been trending higher again this week, with Brent returning to over $72 per barrel at the time of writing and West Texas Intermediate at over $70 per barrel, mostly driven by the rebound in demand for fuels and OPEC+ plans to not rush with the easing of its production cap.

"Demand is ramping up very quickly because everybody's driving, and we have the reopening of Europe, which is really starting to happen, while India seems to have hit an inflection point, in terms of cases, which in my mind could mean you also get a return of mobility," Francisco Blanch, global commodities and derivatives strategist at Bank of America, said this week.

That’s good news for fuel stocks, too, but the EIA data has yet to reflect the rebound.

In gasoline, the EIA estimated an inventory build of 7 million barrels for the week to June 4. This compared with a build of 1.5 million barrels for the previous week.

Gasoline production averaged 9.4 million bpd last week, versus 9.6 million bpd a week earlier.

In middle distillates, the EIA reported an inventory increase of 4.4 million barrels for last week, compared with a build of 3.7 million barrels for a week earlier.

Middle distillate production averaged 4.9 million bpd last week. This compared with 4.8 million bpd a week earlier.

Price forecasts, meanwhile, are becoming increasingly bullish, with some even talking about a return to $100 oil, a price level last seen more than three years ago.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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