U.S. crude stockpiles rise, while gasoline draws to four-year low – EIA
U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected, but gasoline inventories dwindled to a four-year low on steady demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
Crude inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the week to Oct. 29 to 434.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.2 million-barrel rise.
That was in part the result of a 200,000 barrels per day bump in overall U.S. crude production to 11.5 million bpd, though the weekly figures are generally subject to later revisions.
The United States released roughly 1.7 million barrels from its strategic reserve, which also in part accounts for the boost in overall commercial stocks.
U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 1.5 million barrels in the week to 214.3 million barrels, the EIA said, putting those inventories at their lowest levels since November of 2017.
Gasoline stocks at both the Midwest and East Coast hit their lowest levels since November of 2014, boosted by steady demand for the road fuel, which accounts for nearly half of U.S. consumption.
“Gasoline demand continues to be strong despite high prices. Refinery runs were better than expected so that’s supportive. Refiners are getting back to work,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.”
Refinery utilization rates rose by 1.2 percentage points to 86.3% of total capacity, even as overall crude runs fell by 25,000 bpd in the last week, the EIA said.
The oil market remained lower on the day, with U.S. crude down $2.59, or 3.1%, to $81.32 a barrel, while Brent fell by $2.24 a barrel to $82.48, a 2.6% decline, as of 10:55 a.m. EDT (1455 GMT).
Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 2.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a 1.4 million-barrel drop, the EIA data showed.
Source: Reuters (Reporting By David Gaffen and Stephanie Kelly Editing by Marguerita Choy)