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Oil Prices Under Pressure As API Reports Inventory Build

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a build in crude oil inventories of 3.910 million barrels for the week ending March 26.

Analysts had predicted a much smaller inventory build of 107,000 barrels for the week.

In the previous week, the API reported a build in oil inventories of 2.927 million barrels after analysts had predicted a build of 272,000 barrels.

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Oil prices were trading down on the day prior to the data release, with WTI trading down $0.96 at 2:45 p.m. EDT at $60.60, while Brent crude traded down $0.78 at $64.20 per barrel.

Prices were again volatile this week, with the prospect of oil shipment delays through the previously logjammed Suez Canal and OPEC+’s JTC meeting on Tuesday, which saw its members agree to revise down its oil demand estimates for this year on the prompting of member Saudi Arabia, who indicated that the figure OPEC+ was using seemed too high. OPEC+ has not released the official oil demand figure.

U.S. oil production rose to 11.0 million bpd during the week ending March 19, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration.

The API reported a draw in gasoline inventories of 6.012 million barrels for the week ending March 26—on top of the previous week's 3.728-million-barrel barrel draw. Analysts had expected a 730,000-barrel build for the week.

Distillate stocks saw an increase in inventories this week of 2.595 million barrels for the week, after last week's 246,000-barrel increase.

Cushing inventory figures rose by 904,000 barrels.

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Post data release, at 4:34 p.m. EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $60.46, while Brent crude was trading at $64.02.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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