Energy Economy

Crude Oil Price Rising Slightly Following Inventory Report

Paul Ausick

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning showing that U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 6.3 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 422.8 million barrels. The commercial crude inventory is now about 2% higher than the five-year average for this time of year.

Tuesday evening the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories increased by about 9.88 million barrels in the week ending October 19. Gasoline inventories decreased by 2.8 million barrels and distillate stockpiles dropped by about 2.4 million barrels. For the same period, analysts expected crude inventories to increase by about 3.7 million barrels. Gasoline inventories were seen down about 1.9 million barrels, and distillate inventories also were expected to fall by about 1.9 million barrels.

Before the EIA report, benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for December delivery traded up about 0.5% at around $66.88 a barrel, and it traded at $66.94 shortly after the report’s release. WTI for December delivery opened at $66.20 Wednesday morning, down about 0.5% from Tuesday’s settlement price of $66.43. The 52-week range on December futures is $51.63 to $76.72.

Total gasoline inventories decreased by 4.8 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, and remain about 6% above the five-year average range. U.S. refineries produced about 10 million barrels of gasoline a day last week, down by around 400,000 barrels compared with the prior week. Total motor gasoline supplied (the agency’s proxy for demand) averaged 9.2 million barrels a day for the past four weeks, up by about 100,000 barrels compared with the prior week’s average.

U.S. crude oil exports rose by 398,000 barrels a day last week and U.S. production remained unchanged at 10.9 million barrels a day. Exports averaged 2.18 million barrels a day last week and have a cumulative daily average for the year of 1.86 million barrels a day, a 112% increase over the year-ago export total.

Distillate inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels last week and are about 4% below the five-year average range for this time of year. Distillate product supplied averaged 4.1 million barrels a day for the past four weeks, roughly flat compared with the prior week’s average. Distillate production averaged 5 million barrels a day last week, up by 200,000 barrels compared to the prior week’s production.

For the past week, crude imports averaged 7.7 million barrels a day, up by 63,000 compared with the previous week. Refineries were running at 89.2% of capacity, with daily input averaging 16.3 million barrels a day, about 48,000 less than the previous week’s average. Exports of refined products fell by 424,000 barrels a day last week to 5.35 million barrels a day.

According to AAA, the current national average pump price per gallon of regular gasoline is $2.84, down about 3.5 cents from $2.88 a week ago and up by less than a penny compared with the month-ago price. Last year at this time, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $2.456 on average in the United States.

Here is a look at how share prices for two blue-chip stocks and two exchange-traded funds reacted to this latest report.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) traded down about 0.6%, at $79.38 in a 52-week range of $72.16 to $89.30. Over the past 12 months, Exxon stock has traded down about 4.8%.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) traded down about 0.5%, at $112.82 in a 52-week range of $108.02 to $133.88. As of last night’s close, Chevron shares are trading down about 4.7% over the past year.

The United States Oil ETF (NYSEARCA: USO) traded up about 1.2% to $14.21, in a 52-week range of $10.42 to $16.24.

The VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEAMERICAN: OIH) traded down about 1%, at $21.76 in a 52-week range of $21.63 to $29.87.