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COVID Fears Drive Oil Prices Downwards

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures are trading lower on Friday but in a position to close out the week with a small gain after hitting a multi-month high on Wednesday on the back of a much bigger than expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles.

As we near the end of the week, oil prices are struggling to hold on to their five-month highs as fuel demand worries caused by a second wave of coronavirus infections outweighed declines in the U.S. Dollar.

US Energy Information Administration Weekly Inventories Report

The EIA reported on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil inventories fell 7.4 million barrels during the week-ending July 31. Analysts had expected an inventory decline of 3.267 million barrels for the week.

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported an inventory draw of 8.587 million barrels for the last week of July.

The EIA also reported an increase in gasoline inventories of 419,000 barrels, after a 700,000-barrel build estimated the previous week. Distillate fuels inventory increased 1.6 million barrels for the week to July 31. That compared with a build of half a million barrels a week earlier.

Gasoline production last week averaged 9.3 million bpd, compared with 9.2 million bpd a week earlier. Production of distillates last week averaged 4.9 million bpd, compared with 4.8 million bpd a week earlier.

Key Takeaways from the EIA Report

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.6 million barrels per day…

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