Crude oil prices went lower today after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an inventory build of 1.2 million barrels for the week to January 26.
This compared with a substantial draw of 9.2 million barrels for the previous week.
A day earlier, the American Petroleum Institute estimated another inventory draw, at 2.5 million barrels, for the week to January 26. This significantly exceeded analyst expectations for a much smaller draw, at 867,000 barrels.
In fuels, the Energy Information Administration reported mixed inventory changes for the week to January 26.
Gasoline stocks, per the EIA, added 1.2 million barrels in the reported week, with production averaging 9.3 million barrels daily.
This compared with an inventory build of 4.9 million barrels for the prior week and average daily production of 8.3 million barrels per day.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory decline of 2.5 million barrels for the week to January 26, with average production standing at 4.4 million barrels per day.
This compared with an inventory draw of 1.4 million barrels for the previous week and production averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.
Refineries in the United States processed some 14.8 million barrels of crude daily last week, operating at 82.9% of capacity. This compared with 15.3 million bpd for the previous week.
Imports averaged 5.6 million barrels daily in the week to January 26, essentially unchanged on the week before that.
Prices, meanwhile, trended higher earlier this week, with Brent closing near $83 per barrel and WTI booking a daily gain of more than $1 per barrel on Thursday. These followed an update from the IMF that saw global economic growth improve this year, suggesting stronger oil demand.
The festering geopolitical risk in the Middle East also helped push oil prices higher over the first two days of the week. Offsetting that were trader concerns about the health of Chinese oil demand amid signs of deepening problems in the country’s real estate sector.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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