Commodities & Metals

Crude Oil Stockpiles Shrink, Gasoline Prices Follow

Source: Thinkstock
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 1.3 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 363.3 million barrels, near the upper limit of the five-year range for this time of the year.

Total gasoline inventories increased by 100,000 barrels last week, and remain above the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the EIA’s measure of consumption) averaged more than 9 million barrels a day over the past four weeks — up by 3.3% from the same period a year ago.

Distillate inventories rose by 500,000 barrels last week, and remain near the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 4 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up about 11.1% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled more than 4.9 million barrels a day last week.

The American Petroleum Institute last night reported that crude inventories fell by 3.7 million barrels last week, together with a drop of 971,000 barrels in gasoline supplies and a rise of 1.5 barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a drop of 2 million barrels in crude inventories, a drop of 1 million barrels in gasoline inventories and a decline of 1 million barrels in distillate inventories.

Crude prices were up slightly before the EIA report and fell by 0.4% to around $104.90 shortly after the report was released.

For the past week, crude imports averaged more than 7.9 million barrels a day, down about 300,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 90.9% of capacity, with daily input of 15.9 million barrels a day, about 100,000 barrels a day less than the previous week.

This marks the sixth straight week of declines in crude stockpiles, yet inventories remain quite high and gasoline supply is more than plentiful. Refinery throughput is down by more than 360,000 barrels a day over the past two weeks as well. Gasoline prices are down nationally, but there are areas where $4 a gallon is again threatening. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, a gallon of regular gasoline costs about $3.60 today compared with about $3.63 a week ago. Last month the price was $3.47 a gallon, and one year ago the price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.63.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: USO) is down 0.3%, at $37.37 in a 52-week range of $30.79 to $38.62.

The United States Gasoline ETF (NYSEMKT: UGA) is down about 1%, at $59.00, in a 52-week range of $53.35 to $65.86.

The United States Brent Oil ETF (NYSEMKT: BNO) is down 0.5%, at $82.26 in a 52-week range of $73.76 to $88.71.

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