Oil prices dipped only slightly after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude inventory build of 3.4 million barrels for the last week of January.
This compares with an inventory build of 3.5 million barrels for the previous week and analyst expectations of a 3-million-barrel increase for the week to January 31.
In gasoline, the EIA reported an inventory draw of 100,000 barrels for the last week of January. This compared with an increase of 1.2 million barrels for the previous week. Gasoline production in the seven days to January 31 averaged 9.9 million bpd, versus 9.2 million bpd a week earlier.
In distillate fuels, the authority reported a fall in stockpiles of 1.5 million barrels for last week. This compared with a 1.3-million-barrel inventory decline a week earlier. Distillate fuel production last week averaged 5 million bpd, down from a week earlier.
Refineries processed some 16 million bpd last week, the EIA also said.
Oil prices meanwhile broke a ten-day losing streak after media reports emerged that Chinese scientists may have found a treatment against the disease. Oil gained more then 3 percent on the news in Asian and European trading on Wednesday. However, the World Health Organization shattered the budding optimism by saying there was as of yet no known cure for the coronavirus.
“There are no known effective therapeutics against this 2019-nCoV and WHO recommends enrollment into a randomized controlled trial to test efficacy and safety. A master global clinical trial protocol for research and prioritization of therapeutics is ongoing at the WHO,” the agency said.
As the WHO statement begins to make waves across oil markets, EIA’s latest inventory update could accelerate/slow down the drop, especially as it confirms/rejects the American Petroleum Institute’s estimate of a 4.18 million-barrel inventory build, reported yesterday.
At the time of writing Brent crude was trading at $56.05 a barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at $51.47 a barrel both up by close to 4 percent from yesterday’s close.
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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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