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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a build of 1.821 million barrels of United States crude oil inventories for week ending November 24, against analyst forecasts for an inventory drawdown of 3.15 million barrels. Last week the API had reported a more than 6-million-barrel draw.
Gasoline inventories, according to the API, saw a draw this week, of 1.529 million barrels for the week ending November 24, compared to forecasts of a 1.17-million-barrel build.
This week marks the last snapshot of inventory figures for US crude oil to be taken prior to the OPEC meeting this Thursday in Vienna, a historical meeting that has analysts pitted at opposite sides in the will-they or won’t-they drama and that has taxed traders as they attempt to predict the meeting’s outcome.
This week’s unexpected build in crude oil inventories is likely to put downward pressure on oil prices, which in turn puts pressure on OPEC to do more “whatever it takes” to reassure the market that the glut is easing in hopes of stabilizing prices.
Oil prices were down heading into today’s data and heading into this week’s meeting, with WTI down $.015(-0.26 percent) at $57.96 at 2:00pm EST, and Brent crude down $0.19(-0.30 percent) at $63.19.
Distillate inventories also saw a build this week, up 2.696 million barrels, against a forecast of a 230,000-barrel build.
Inventories at the Cushing, Oklahoma, site decreased by 3.178 million barrels this week.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil inventories is due to be released on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EDT—just one day prior to the OPEC meeting.
Shortly after data release, the WTI benchmark was down 0.40 percent on the day to $57.88 at 4:37pm EST. Brent was trading down 0.44 percent on the day at $63.10.
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.