US Petroleum Inventories Jump, Imports Rise Too

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The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. US commercial crude inventories rose by 4.2 million barrels last week, bringing the total US commercial crude inventory to 344.9 million barrels, around the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year..

The American Petroleum Institute estimated late Tuesday that crude inventories rose 521,000 barrels while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had predicted an inventory increase of 1 million barrels.

Total gasoline inventories fell by 1.6 million barrels last week and remain in the upper limit of the five-year average range. Over the last four weeks, gasoline supplied has declined by -6.7% compared to the same period last year. Total motor gasoline supplied averaged just under 8.3 million barrels/day for the four weeks.

For the past week, crude imports totaled 9.2 million barrels/day, up by 96,000 barrels/day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 83.6% of capacity, with daily input of nearly 14.6 million barrels/day, down by 282,000 barrels/day from the previous week.

Higher inventories and the decline in gasoline supplied indicate demand continues to fall in the US. Higher import levels could be a sign that refiners are exporting more refined products, but to say that the increase in imports is counter-intuitive is not an overstatement.

According to gasbuddy.com, US gasoline prices average $3.685/gallon today, compared with a pump price of $3.57 a week ago.

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