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Oil Prices Head Lower Following Inventory Builds

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has estimated surprise crude oil inventory build of 1.1 million barrels for the week ending January 10, compared to analyst expectations of a 474,000-barrel draw in inventory.

Last week saw a large draw in crude oil inventories of 5.95 million barrels, according to API data. The EIA’s estimates, however, were of a build of 1.2 million barrels for that week.

Oil prices were up earlier in the day prior to the afternoon data release, but were down significantly week on week after the initial shock wore off from the US airstrikes in Iraq that killed an Iranian military general Qassem Soleimani and corresponding retaliatory actions by Iran.

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At 3:34 pm EST, the WTI benchmark was trading up $0.25 (+0.43%) at $58.33—roughly $4 per barrel below last week’s inflated levels. The price of a Brent barrel was also trading up on Tuesday, by $0.40 (+0.62%), at $64.60—also nearly $4 under last week’s prices.

The API this week also reported another build of 3.2 million barrels of gasoline for week ending January 10, after last week’s large 6.7-million-barrel build. This week’s large gasoline build compares to analyst expectations of a 3.386-million barrel-build for the week.

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Distillates, too, saw inventories increase by 6.8 million barrels for the week, adding onto last week’s 6.40 million barrel build, while Cushing inventories saw no change.

US crude oil production as estimated by the Energy Information Administration showed that production for the week ending January 3 stayed for the third week in a row at 12.9 million bpd, a record high for the United States. 

At 4:44 pm EDT, WTI was trading at $58.43, while Brent was trading at $64.64.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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