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Oil Prices Inch Higher After API Reports Surprise Crude Draw

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a surprise draw of 3.28 million barrels of United States crude oil inventories for the week ending March 30, after analysts had anticipated a modest build in crude oil inventories of 246,000 barrels.

Last week, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported major build—and a surprise one at that—of 5.321 million barrels of crude oil.

The API reported this week a build for gasoline for week ending March 30 of 1.123 million in gasoline stockpiles—a surprise given the 1.26-million-barrel draw that analysts had expected.

Both benchmarks had climbed on Tuesday, with the WTI benchmark up by $0.57(+0.90%) at $63.58 while Brent traded up $0.54 (+0.80%) at $68.18 at 4:05 pm EST. While both benchmarks are up on the day, they are still down from last week’s levels as the threat of a trade war weighs on, causing oil prices to hit a two-week low on Monday.

Buoying prices on Tuesday was perhaps OPEC’s production, which was estimated to have fallen to its lowest levels since April 2017, courtesy of struggling Venezuela, to 32.04 million barrels per day in March, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts.

Capping Tuesday’s gains is US crude oil production, which for the week ending March 23 increased to 10.433 million bpd.

Distillate inventories saw a surprise build this week of 2.2 million barrels. Analysts had forecast a decline of 1.134 million barrels.

Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, site increased by 4.058 million barrels this week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil inventories is due to be released on Wednesday at 10:30a.m. EST.

By 4:38pm EST, the WTI benchmark was trading up 0.87% on the day to $63.56 while Brent was trading up 0.75% at $68.15.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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