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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a draw in crude oil inventories of 4.785 million barrels for the week ending December 25.
Analysts had predicted an inventory draw of 2.100 million barrels for the week.
In the previous week, the API reported a build in oil inventories of 2.70-million barrels, after analysts had predicted a draw of 3.135 million barrels.
Both Brent and WTI were up on Tuesday morning before the data release on hopes of a larger round of stimulus checks signed off on by President Donald Trump and the House on Monday. Gains continue to be capped, however, by OPEC's plans to gradually increase oil production after the start of the year despite lockdowns and depressed demand.
Moments before Tuesday's data release, WTI had risen by $0.41 (+0.86%) to $48.03, up $.80 per barrel on the week. The Brent crude benchmark had risen on the day $0.44 at that time (+0.87%) to $51.30—up roughly $1 per barrel on the week.
U.S. oil production held steady at 11.0 million bpd for the week ending December 18, according to the Energy Information Administration—2.1 million bpd lower than the all-time high of 13.1 million bpd reached in March.
The API reported a draw in gasoline inventories of 718,000 barrels of gasoline for the week ending December 25—compared to the previous week's 224,000-barrel draw. Analysts had expected a 1.778-million-barrel build for the week.
Distillate inventories were down by 1.877 million barrels for the week, compared to last week's 1.03-million-barrel increase, while Cushing inventories rose this week by 131,000 barrels.
At 4:36 p.m. EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $47.99, while Brent crude was trading at $51.07.
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.