Crude Oil Inventories: Anybody’s Guess

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced last Friday that it would close down due to "lack of appropriations," government-speak for running out of money due to the federal shutdown. At least the agency had enough cash to operate for two weeks beyond the beginning of the shutdown.

Absent the EIA's weekly petroleum status report, the best data we will get this week will come later Wednesday from the American Petroleum Institute (API), which delayed its usual Tuesday report due to the Columbus Day holiday.

The only estimate we have so far comes from Platts weekly survey of analysts, who expect a gain of 2.25 million barrels in the nation's crude oil supply, a rise of 400,000 barrels in the gasoline supply and a drop of 1.3 million barrels in the supply of distillates.

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West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is trading around $101.73, up about 0.5%, in the late morning Wednesday after falling to an intra-day low of $100.75. The November contract rose to just over $102 a barrel on news that the U.S. Senate was nearing an agreement on a deal to end the government shutdown and extend the debt ceiling deadline.

Brent crude also is trading up about 0.5% at around $110.45.

The United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.4%, at $36.98 in a 52-week range of $30.79 to $39.54, and the United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO) is up 1.3%, at $43.56 in a 52-week range of $36.88 to $45.05.

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