The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil market experienced a week of volatility, influenced by a combination of supply dynamics and demand factors. The futures contract witnessed a significant decline of approximately 4% on Thursday, erasing the earlier gains for the week. This downturn was primarily triggered by the Bank of England's bigger-than-expected rate hike, which raised concerns about the economy and fuel demand. Despite the support from a surprise draw in U.S. oil supplies, these worries outweighed the positive impact and pushed the U.S. benchmark lower.
The EIA's weekly report on crude oil inventories revealed a notable decline of 3.8 million barrels in the last week, falling to 463.3 million barrels, contrary to analysts' expectations of a 300,000-barrel rise. Additionally, crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub fell by 98,000 barrels. These unexpected draws in crude inventories were driven by strong export demand and low imports. Furthermore, U.S. crude oil exports climbed to 4.5 million barrels per day, while imports fell approximately 50% to 1.6 million barrels per day.
However, the positive impact of the decline in crude oil inventories was dampened by builds in gasoline and distillate inventories. Gasoline stocks rose by about 480,000 barrels to 221.4 million barrels, compared to analysts' expectations of a 100,000-barrel rise. Distillate stockpiles, including diesel and heating oil, increased by approximately…