Crude Oil Futures Continue to Slide as Gasoline Inventories Rise


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 600,000 barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 394.9 million barrels, still well above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week and have moved into the upper half of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged 8.5 million barrels a day over the past four weeks - a drop of about 3.1% compared with the same period a year ago.

Distillate inventories rose by 2.3 million barrels last week and remain in the lower half of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged more than 3.6 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, down about 3.1% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.6 million barrels a day last week, higher by 100,000 barrels compared with the prior week.

The American Petroleum Institute last night reported an inventory build of 1.1 million barrels in crude supplies last week, together with a decrease of 480,000 barrels in gasoline supplies and a rise of 1.9 million barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a build of 300,000 barrels in crude inventories, a drop of 800,000 barrels in gasoline inventories and a rise of 800,000 barrels in distillate inventories.

Crude prices were down about 1.4% before the EIA report at around $93.00 a barrel and fell to $92.66 shortly after the report was released.

For the past week, crude imports averaged more than 7.6 million barrels a day, up about 17,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 88% of capacity, with daily input of 15.3 million barrels a day, about 73,000 barrels a day more than the previous week.

The drop in crude oil inventories combined with the sharp rise in gasoline inventories signals that gasoline demand is down and that gasoline prices will follow. Crude prices will follow gasoline prices downward. This should be no surprise to anyone who has paid attention. Consumption (as measured by product supplied) is down another 3.1% this week. U.S. consumers are catching a break ahead of the summer driving season.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is down 2.1%, at $32.86 in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $37.17.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is down 1.6%, at $55.39, in a 52-week range of $45.13 to $65.86.

The United States Brent Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: BNO) is down 1.2%, at $77.06 in a 52-week range of $63.00 to $88.71.

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