Thursday, 14 December, 2017

US Gasoline Inventories Hit 3-Year Low

Crude Oil Steady After API Inventories Report POLL-US crude oil, product stockpiles likely down again
Laurie Berry | 10 November, 2017, 02:01

Crude inventories rose 2.2 million barrels in the week to November 3, contrary to analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2.9 million barrels.

At 125.6 million barrels, nationwide distillate inventories were at their lowest since February, 2014.

Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), published at 15:30 London time, showed that U.S. crude stocks had increased by 2.24m barrels in the week to 3 November. US crude oil imports averaged about 7.4 million barrels per day last week, down by 194,000 barrels per day from the previous week.

Crude oil futures were slightly lower Wednesday morning after industry data showed a relatively small draw down in U.S. crude oil inventories.

The Saudi anti-graft sweep that began on November 4 threatens to overshadow a November 30 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' gathering at which an extension of production limits is expected to take center stage. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.4 million barrels last week and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

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At the same time, imports continue to remain low, which is the strategy that the Saudi's are undertaking to attempt to rebalance the US crude market. Meanwhile, refinery utilisation rates were also up by 1.5 percentage points, to 89.6%. Analysts forecast that stockpiles of gasoline likely fell 1.9 million barrels last week. Total volume traded was 21% below the 100-day average.

On Monday, WTI and Brent both jumped more than 3% to settle at their highest levels since June 2015 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-hover-at-2-year-highs-as-investors-watch-for-fallout-from-saudi-shake-up-2017-11-06). Over the last month, gasoline demand averaged over 9.3 million barrels per day, up by 3.0% from the same period past year.

"EIA expects global oil supply growth to outpace global oil demand growth in 2018, contributing to global oil inventories rising by a forecast 0.3 million barrels per day in 2018, compared with an estimated 0.2 million barrels per day draw in 2017", the report read. Distillate fuel demand averaged 3.9 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.9% from the same period past year. Prices have so far edged up not only on increased tensions in the Middle East, but also on the broader conviction that OPEC efforts had eventually started to mop up the global oil glut.

China's October oil imports fell to just 7.3 million bpd from a near record-high of about 9 million bpd in September, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

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