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API Surprises Analysts With Unexpected Crude Draw

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a surprise draw in crude oil inventories of 1 million barrels for the week ending March 12.


Analysts had predicted an inventory build of 2.964-million barrels for the week.

In the previous week, the API reported a major build in oil inventories of 12.792-million barrels after analysts had predicted a much smaller 816,000-barrel build. The EIA confirmed there was a large build, crushing the souls of oil bulls that had hoped the price rally would continue ever higher.

Oil prices slid further on Tuesday ahead of today’s data.

At 3:39 p.m. ET, before Tuesday's data release, WTI had fallen by $0.68 on the day (-1.04%) to $64.71. Although down for the day, WTI is still trading up more by about $0.70 per barrel over this time last week.  

The Brent crude benchmark had also fallen on the day $0.55 at that time (-0.80%) to $68.33—about $0.80 per barrel up on the week.

U.S. oil production rose by 900,000 bpd million barrels per day to 10.9 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The API also reported a draw in gasoline inventories, of 926,000 barrels for the week ending March 12—on top of the previous week's 8.499-million-barrel draw. Analysts had expected a 2.996-million-barrel draw for the week.

Distillate stocks saw an increase in inventories this week, of 904,000 barrels for the week, after last week's 4.796-million-barrel decrease.

Cushing inventory figures were not available at the time of publication. Last week, inventories held in Cushing increased by 295,000 barrels.

Post data release, at 4:46 p.m. EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $64.94, while Brent crude was trading at $68.47.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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