The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report this morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 400,000 barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 364.6 million barrels, and remain in the upper half of the five-year range for this time of the year.
Total gasoline inventories increased by 800,000 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 3.2% from the same period a year ago.
Distillate inventories fell 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 15.2% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled more than 4.8 million barrels a day last week.
The American Petroleum Institute last night reported that crude inventories fell by 700,000 barrels last week, together with a rise of 1.8 million barrels in gasoline supplies and a decline of 500,000 barrels in distillate supplies. Platts estimated a drop of 3 million barrels in crude inventories, a decline of 1.5 million barrels in gasoline inventories and a rise of 800,000 barrels in distillate inventories.
Crude prices were up about 0.2% before the EIA report at around $103.00 a barrel and climbed a bit to around $103.20 shortly after the report was released.
For the past week, crude imports averaged about 8.2 million barrels a day, up about 136,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 91.3% of capacity, with daily input of 16 million barrels a day, which is about 66,000 barrels a day less than the previous week.
This marks the fifth straight week of declines in crude stockpiles. But inventories remain quite high, and gasoline supply is more than plentiful. Refinery throughput is down by more than 260,000 barrels a day over the past two weeks as well. Gasoline prices should start falling pretty soon now. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, a gallon of regular gasoline costs about $3.63 today, compared with about $3.67 a week ago. Last month the price was $3.49 a gallon, and one year ago the price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.50.
The United States Oil ETF (USO) is up 0.1%, at $36.69 in a 52-week range of $30.79 to $38.62.
The United States Gasoline ETF (UGA) is down about 1.2%, at $60.10 in a 52-week range of $53.35 to $65.86.
The United States Brent Oil ETF (BNO) is down 0.6%, at $81.22 in a 52-week range of $73.76 to $88.71.