Crude Oil Inventory Jumps, Prices Fall Below $90 a Barrel


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 3.8 million barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 381.4 million barrels, still well above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 600,000 barrels last week but remain in the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged about 8.5 million barrels a day over the past four weeks - a rise of about 1.1% compared with the same period a year ago.

Distillate inventories increased by about 600,000 barrels last week and remain in the lower half of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged more than 3.7 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 5.3% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.3 million barrels a day last week, down by about 200,000 barrels a day when compared with the prior week.

The American Petroleum Institute reported an inventory increase of 5.6 million barrels in crude supplies last week and a decrease of 900,000 barrels in gasoline supplies. Platts estimated a build of 1.1 million barrels in crude inventories and decreases of 1.6 million barrels for gasoline stocks and 1.3 million barrels for distillate stocks. Dow Jones had projected a rise in crude inventories of 500,000 barrels.

Crude prices were about down about 0.7% before the EIA report at $90.18 a barrel and quickly dipped below $90 a barrel following the report. Crude prices are down sharply over the past several days, and gasoline prices have also fallen for the past week or so.

For the past week, crude imports averaged more than 7.3 million barrels a day, a decrease of about 480,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 82.2% of capacity, with daily input of 14 million barrels a day, about 500,000 barrels a day more than the previous week. The spring turnaround to summer fuel and routine refinery maintenance are proceeding a little earlier than normal this year, likely because demand for gasoline has moderated.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is down about 1.3% at $32.28, in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $42.30.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is down 0.4% at $61.93,in a 52-week range of $45.13 to $65.86.

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