Crude Oil Futures Higher as Inventories Slide

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories dropped by 9.9 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 373.9 million barrels, still above the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 1.7 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the EIA’s measure of consumption) averaged more than 9.1 million barrels a day over the past four weeks — equal to the level in the same period a year ago.

Distillate inventories rose by 3 million barrels last week and remain near the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 4.1 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 12.3% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled 5 million barrels a day last week, up about 200,000 barrels a day compared with the prior week.

The American Petroleum Institute last night reported that crude inventories fell by 9 million barrels last week, together with a drop of 3.5 million barrels in gasoline supplies and a rise of 2.8 million barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a drop of 3.8 million barrels in crude inventories, a rise of 1.2 million barrels in gasoline inventories and a rise of 1.4 million barrels in distillate inventories.

Crude prices were up about 1.6% before the EIA report at around $105 a barrel, and it climbed further to around $105.55 shortly after the report was released.

For the past week, crude imports averaged more than 7.5 million barrels a day, up about 118,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 92.4% of capacity, with daily input of 16.1 million barrels a day, about flat with the previous week.

This marks the second straight week of a significant drop in crude supplies. But inventories remain very high and gasoline supply is plentiful. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, a gallon of regular gasoline costs about $3.50 today compared with about $3.48 a week ago. Last month the price was $3.64 a gallon and one year ago the price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.38.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is up 1.4%, at $37.27 in a 52-week range of $30.79 to $37.35. The 52-week high was set earlier today.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is up 1.4%, at $59.41, in a 52-week range of $50.47 to $65.86.

The United States Brent Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: BNO) is up 0.4%, at $82.25 in a 52-week range of $69.85 to $88.71.

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