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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a build in crude oil inventories of 7.356 million barrels for the week ending February 26.
Analysts had predicted an inventory draw of 928,000 barrels for the week.
In the previous week, the API reported a build in oil inventories of 1.026-million barrels after analysts had predicted a draw of 5.190-million barrels.
Oil prices slumped on Tuesday ahead of the data release as the oil markets fear that OPEC+ may loosen its supply restrictions at a time when China’s thirst for oil imports appaears to be waning.
At 3:33 p.m. EDT, before Tuesday's data release, WTI had fallen by $0.96 on the day (-1.58%) to $59.68—more than $2 per barrel down over this time last weke.
The Brent crude benchmark had fallen on the day $1.02 at that time (-1.60%) to $62.67—down nearly $3 per barrel on the week.
While crude inventories are up this week, U.S. oil production fell 1.1 million barrels per day to 9.7 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The API reported a massive draw in gasoline inventories of 9.933 million barrels for the week ending February 26—after the previous week's 66,000-barrel build. Analysts had expected a 2.300-million-barrel draw for the week.
Plains All American tanks at Cushing as of February 26
Distillate stocks saw a large decrease as well, of 9.053 million barrels for the week, after last week's 4.489-million-barrel decrease.
Cushing inventories rose by 732,000 barrels. Last week, inventories held in Cushing increased by 2.783 million barrels.
Post data release, at 4:39 p.m. EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $59.68, while Brent crude was trading at $62.67.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.