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Surprise Crude Oil Build Thwarts Price Rally

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a build in crude oil inventories of 2.970 million barrels for the week ending September 4.

Analysts had predicted an inventory draw of 1.335-million barrels.

In the previous week, the API reported a draw in crude oil inventories of 6.360 million barrels, after analysts had predicted a smaller draw of 1.887 million barrels.

Oil prices were trading up on Tuesday afternoon before the API’s data release, but the rising prices come only after a brutal trading day in the day prior when oil prices sunk to their lowest levels since June.

A half-hour before the data release, at 4:00 pm EDT, WTI had risen by $1.32 (+3.59%) to $38.08. While up significantly on the day, WTI is still trading nearly $5 per barrel under last week’s levels. The Brent crude benchmark had risen by $0.97 at 4:00 pm (+2.44%) to $40.75—also nearly $5 per barrel under last week’s levels

Oil production in the United States fell sharply for the last week in August, still down significantly from a high of 13.1 million bpd on March 13. U.S. oil production currently sits at 9.7 million bpd as of August 28, according to the Energy Information Administration—3.4 million bpd under March highs.

The API reported a large draw in gasoline inventories of 6.892 million barrels of gasoline for the week ending August 28—compared to last week’s 5.761-million-barrel draw. Analysts had expected a much smaller 2.384-million-barrel draw for the week.

Distillate inventories were up by 2.293 million barrels for the week, compared to last week’s 1.424-million-barrel draw, while Cushing inventory rose by 2.608 million barrels.

At 4:33 pm EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $38.00 while Brent crude was trading at $40.70.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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