The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 6.3 million barrels last week, bringing the total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 391.3 million barrels, still well above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.
Total gasoline inventories decreased by 400,000 barrels last week and are remain near the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the EIA's measure of consumption) averaged 8.7 million barrels a day over the past four weeks - a drop of about 0.8% compared with the same period a year ago.
Distillate inventories rose by 2.6 million barrels last week, but remain in the lower half of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 3.8 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 6% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 4.8 million barrels a day last week, about flat compared with the prior week.
The American Petroleum Institute last night reported an inventory decline of 7.8 million barrels in crude supplies last week, together with a drop of 1.3 million barrels in gasoline supplies and a rise of 241,000 barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a decline of 1 million barrels in crude inventories, a rise of 1 million barrels in gasoline inventories and a rise of 1.4 million barrels in distillate inventories.
Crude prices were up about 0.7% before the EIA report at around $94 a barrel and rose to around $94.30, up 1.1%, shortly after the report was released.
For the past week, crude imports averaged slightly less than 7.3 million barrels a day, down about 433,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 88.4% of capacity, with daily input of 15.5 million barrels a day, about 500,000 barrels a day more than the previous week.
This week's decline in crude inventories does not indicate any shortage in supply, but rather results from a move to make room for new production. Refineries were operating at higher utilization rates and running an additional 500,000 barrels a day of throughput. Given that U.S. consumption is down, we might conclude that more gasoline and refined products are being exported. Eventually, crude and gasoline prices will moderate as a result of the increased exports.
The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is up 0.9%, at $33.52 in a 52-week range of $29.02 to $37.17.
The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is up 1%, at $56.77, in a 52-week range of $45.13 to $65.86.
The United States Brent Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: BNO) is up 0.6%, at $78.99 in a 52-week range of $63.00 to $88.71.
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