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Oil Markets Retreat After API Reports Large Gasoline Build

A large build in gasoline inventories which offset a modest draw in crude oil inventories cooled bullish sentiment in markets somewhat on Tuesday afternoon

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a draw in crude oil inventories of 4.264 million barrels for the week ending August 14—a near mirror of last week’s draw figure.

Analysts had predicted a modest inventory draw of 2.670-million barrels.

In the previous week, the API reported a draw in crude oil inventories of 4.401 million barrels, after analysts had predicted a draw of roughly half that.

Oil prices were trading down on Tuesday afternoon before the API’s data release, and just minutes before the release, WTI had fallen by $0.33 (-0.77%) to $42.56. The Brent crude benchmark had fallen by $0.30 (-0.66%) to $45.07, even as OPEC showed this week that its overall July compliance rate was about as good as it could get.  

Still, traders are leery in the runup to any of the inventory reports, and this week is also complicated further by the scheduled OPEC meeting, although most analysts agree that the meeting will likely prove rather uneventful.

Oil production in the United States now appears to be leveling off after falling from a high of 13.1 million bpd on March 13 to 10.7 million bpd on August 7, according to the Energy Information Administration—the loss adding to OPEC’s production cuts.   

The API reported a build of 4.991 million barrels of gasoline for the week ending August 14—compared to last week’s 1.310-million-barrel draw. This week’s build is not what analysts had expected, which was a 1.057-million-barrel draw for the week.

Distillate inventories were down by 964,000 barrels for the week, compared to last week’s 2.949-million-barrel draw, while Cushing inventory fell by a modest 590,000 barrels.

At 4:33 pm EDT, WTI was trading at $42.58 while Brent was trading at $45.09.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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