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Larger Than Expected Crude Build Threatens This Week’s Oil Rally

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated on Wednesday a larger than anticipated crude oil inventory build of 4.16-million barrels for the week ending February 14, compared to analyst expectations of a 2.494-million-barrel build in inventory.

In the previous week, the API estimated a larger than expected build in crude oil inventories of 6-million barrels, while the EIA’s estimates were even more bearish, reporting a large build of 7.5-million barrels for the week.

Oil prices were trading significantly up on Wednesday prior to the data release, with traders planning on a swift end to the current coronavirus crisis that has created demand problems in the world’s largest importer, China. Other bullish factors for oil on Wednesday were the sanctions that the United States announced on a Rosneft subsidiary for dealing in Venezuelan crude oil—a significant measure that will put additional pressure on Venezuela.

At 3:36 pm EST on Wednesday the WTI benchmark was trading up on the day by $1.26 (+2.41%) at $53.55—up nearly $4 per barrel week on week. The price of a Brent barrel was also trading up on Wednesday, by $1.22 (+2.12%), at $58.73—nearly $5 up week on week.

The API this week also reported a draw of 2.67 million barrels of gasoline for week ending February 14, after last week’s 1.1-million-barrel build. This week’s large gasoline build compares to analyst expectations of a 435,000-barrel-build for the week.

Distillate inventories were down by 2.63 million barrels for the week, compared to last week’s 2.3-million-barrel draw, while Cushing inventories rose by 4.21 million barrels.

US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration showed that production for the week ending February 7 resumed its previously hit all-time high of 13.0 million bpd.

At 4:39 pm EDT, WTI was trading at $53.43, while Brent was trading at $58.61.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Patches Hooligan on February 19 2020 said:
    Well I must say, at least Julianne's headliner is not an exaggeration this week. In a way it could threaten the rally, but it looks like it didn't (for now) because of the larger than expected draw in gasoline and distillates. We'll see what the EIA says tomorrow.

    Still I would have worded the headliner to be even less "catchy" with no buzz words - "API reports larger than expected build". I mean, the only audience of these articles are people in oil, whom come to this site to look for these articles. It's not like our attention need to be captured anymore.

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