The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 5.2 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory to 379.8 million barrels, and they remain above the upper end of the five-year range for this time of the year.
Total gasoline inventories also decreased by 1.8 million barrels last week but remain near the top of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the EIA's measure of consumption) averaged about 8.8 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, flat with the prior week average.
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Distillate inventories rose by 1.5 million barrels last week and remain near the lower limit of the average range. Distillate product supplied averaged 3.7 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, down by 3.9% when compared with the same period last year. Distillate production totaled about 4.8 million barrels a day last week, roughly flat with the prior week.
The American Petroleum Institute last Wednesday reported that crude inventories rose by 3 million barrels in the week ending October 11, together with a drop of 510,000 barrels in gasoline supplies and an increase of 815,000 barrels in distillate supplies. For the same period, Platts estimated a rise of 3 million barrels in crude inventories, a decrease of 400,000 barrels in gasoline inventories and a decrease of 1.6 million barrels in distillate inventories.
Crude prices closed at $97.80 on Tuesday and were trading lower before the EIA report at around $96.50 a barrel. They slipped further to around $96.30 shortly after the report was released.
For the past week, crude imports averaged about 7.7 million barrels a day, down about 348,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Refineries were running at 85.9% of capacity, with daily input of 14.9 million barrels a day, about 2,000 barrels a day higher than the previous week's total.
Gasoline pump prices have slipped a bit in the past week, and the continuing drop in crude prices should keep those prices on the decline. According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report, a gallon of regular gasoline costs about $3.34 today, compared with about $3.36 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 $3.65.
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The United States Oil ETF (USO) was down 1.8%, at $34.74 in a 52-week range of $30.79 to $39.54.
The United States Gasoline ETF (UGA) was down about 1.9%, at $55.08, in a 52-week range of $53.35 to $65.86.
The United States Brent Oil ETF (BNO) was down 1.3%, at $42.79 in a 52-week range of $36.88 to $45.05.