Big Inventory Boost Sends Crude Price Tumbling
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 4.1 million barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 376.4 million barrels, still well above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.
Total gasoline inventories decreased by 2.9 million barrels last week and remain in the middle of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged about 8.4 million barrels a day over the past four weeks - a rise of about 2.8% compared with the same period a year ago.
Distillate inventories decreased by 2.3 million barrels last week and are near the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 3.8 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 5.5% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.3 million barrels a day last week, down about 100,000 barrels a day when compared with the prior week.
The American Petroleum Institute reported an inventory increase of 2.96 barrels in crude supplies last week, a decrease of 120,000 barrels in gasoline supplies and a drop of 1.6 million barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a build of 2 million barrels in crude inventories for last week, and Bloomberg estimates called for a crude inventory build of 2 million barrels.
Crude prices were about down about 2.2% before the EIA report at $94.46 a barrel, and they quickly fell below $93 a barrel following the report. Crude prices are down sharply over the past several days, but gasoline prices continue to climb for reasons we spelled out in a look at refining this morning.
For the past week, crude imports averaged 7.7 million barrels a day, an increase of about 176,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 82.9% of capacity, with daily input of 14.2 million barrels a day, about 134,000 barrels a day less than the previous week.
The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is down about 1.9%, at $33.51 in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $42.30.
The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is down 0.9%, at $63.72 in a 52-week range of $45.13 to $65.86.
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