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Oil Ticks Higher On Crude Inventory Draw

Oil prices recouped some of their latest losses today, after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory draw of 3 million barrels for the week to August 20.

This compared with a draw of 3.2 million barrels estimated for the previous week, and a moderate 1.62-million-barrel decline in last week’s inventories reported by the American Petroleum Institute.

At 432.6 million barrels, the EIA said, crude oil inventories in the country are about 6 percent below the five-year seasonal average.

Yet prices continue to be volatile as rising Covid-19 infection numbers fuel worry about the prospects of oil and fuel demand.

In fuels, the EIA estimated a 2.2-million-barrel draw in gasoline stocks and a 600,000-barrel build in middle distillate stocks.

These compared with a gasoline stock build of 700,000 barrels for the previous week and a decline of 2.7 million barrels in middle distillate inventories.

Gasoline production averaged 10.2 million bpd last week, which compared with 10 million bpd a week earlier.

Middle distillate production stood at 5 million bpd in the week to August 20, compared with 4.8 million bpd a week earlier.

Brent crude was trading at $71.16 per barrel at the time of writing, and West Texas Intermediate was changing hands for $67.37 a barrel, both down but still higher than they were last week.

On Monday, oil broke a seven-day series of losses caused by a more expensive U.S. dollar and pandemic concerns. This week, as China reported zero new Covid-19 infections, sentiment began to improve, aided by a drop in the dollar.

“We find this price weakness excessive and believe it has more to do with the psychology of market participants than with any deterioration of fundamental data,” Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note, as quoted by CNBC on Monday.

The outlook is bright, too, at least according to Goldman Sachs: “While liquidity will likely remain low and the trend is not our friend right now, we believe the micro — steadily tightening commodity fundamentals — will trump these macro trends as we move toward autumn, pushing many markets like oil and base metals to new highs for this cycle,” analysts from the bank wrote this week.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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