Crude oil prices remained down today after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an estimated inventory decline of 1.5 million barrels for the week to July 1.
This compared to an estimated inventory draw of a substantial 9.6 million barrels for the previous week, which pushed prices temporarily higher.
At 452.2 million barrels, the EIA said, U.S. crude oil inventories were about the five-year average for this time of the year.
Demand concern, however, continues to weigh on prices, even if the EIA recently revised upwards its own fuel demand figures for April—the month with the latest data—surprising at least one bank.
Citi analysts called the EIA’s revision “startling”, with the total upward revision of fuel demand for that month at 350,000 bpd.
The market, however, has shrugged off or ignored the news, focusing on rate hikes and GDP numbers.
The EIA, meanwhile, reported inventory declines in fuels for the week ending July 1.
Gasoline inventories shed 2.5 million barrels in the reporting period, with production averaging 10.3 million bpd.
This compared with a build of 600,000 barrels for the previous week and production rates of 10.1 million bpd.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory decline of 1 million barrels, with production averaging 4.9 million barrels daily.
This compared with a modest inventory build of 100,000 barrels and production levels averaging 4.7 million bpd a week earlier.
Meanwhile, the oil price jump that followed the news that Saudi Arabia will extend its voluntary output cuts and that Russia will reduce exports fizzled out in less than a day.
Oil declined earlier in the week as traders remained fixated on interest rates and the possibility of a global economic slowdown. Today, prices steadied, with analysts warning of tighter supplies during the second half of the year.
Later in the day, however, benchmarks declined in anticipation of another U.S. rate hike. At the time of writing, Brent crude was trading at $75.09 per barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at $70.28 per barrel.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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