Crude oil prices changed little today after the Energy Information Administration estimated a modest inventory increase of 600,000 barrels for the week to April 7.
This compared with an inventory draw of 3.7 million barrels for the previous week and put the total at 470.5 million barrels. This was about 3 percent higher than the five-year seasonal average, the EIA said.
In fuels, the authority estimated inventory declines.
Gasoline stocks last week shed 300,000 barrels, which compared with a draw of 4.1 million barrels for the previous week.
Gasoline production averaged 9.8 million barrels daily last week, which compared with 9.9 million barrels daily a week earlier.
In middle distillates, the EIA estimated an inventory decline of 600,000 barrels for the week to April 7, which compared with a draw of 3.6 million barrels for the previous week.
Middle distillate production last week stood at an average of 4.6 million barrels daily, which compared with 4.7 million bpd a week earlier.
Oil prices, meanwhile, have stabilized around $85 per barrel for Brent crude and $81 per barrel of West Texas Intermediate. They might see some changes today after the release of the U.S. consumer price index for March.
The CPI report showed that consumer prices had increased much less than expected last month, which alleviated fears of persistent inflation that would need more potentially risky interference by the Fed.
Meanwhile, the EIA said in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook that it expected U.S. oil production to rise by about 700,000 bpd this year, to 12.54 million bpd from last year’s 11.88 million bpd. This was an upward revision of some 100,000 bpd from last month’s STEO.
At the same time, the authority does not expect crude oil prices to go much higher. In fact, the current price level for Brent is what the EIA sees as this year’s average for the benchmark.
In that, it diverges from most investment bank commodity analysts with the notable exceptions of Citi and Morgan Stanley. They both expect crude oil to end the year lower than it is now.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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