Crude Oil Price Wobbles On Another Big Increase In Gasoline Stockpiles

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning. U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 2.8 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 488.3 million barrels. The commercial crude inventory rose above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Tuesday evening, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that crude inventories rose by 2.9 million barrels in the week ending January 20. API also reported gasoline supplies increased by 4.8 million barrels and distillate inventories increased by 2 million barrels. For the same period, analysts had estimated an increase of 2.8 million barrels in crude inventories, a rise of 498,000 barrels in gasoline stockpiles and a decrease of 970,000 barrels in distillates.

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Total gasoline inventories increased by 6.8 million barrels last week, according to the EIA, and remain above the upper limit of the five-year average range. Total motor gasoline supplied (the agency's measure of consumption) averaged about 8.3 million barrels a day for the past four weeks, down by 4.7% compared with the same period a year ago.

Analysts at energy research firm ESAI Energy on Monday released a note claiming that the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimate of 2016 oil product demand growth of 1.5 million barrels a day is 300,000 barrels too high. That's 20% less and a difference that big could have an impact on demand growth in 2017 and on how much crude oil has to be taken out of production by OPEC and its partners in order to rebalance the market.

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ESAI Energy's main conflict with the IEA estimate is in product demand in Russia. The IEA estimated demand growth of 140,000 barrels a day in fuel oil, gasoil and liquid petroleum gas for 2016. ESAI Energy estimates that product demand growth fell by 60,000 barrels a day year over year.

The firm's estimate on product demand growth in China is also 20,000 barrels lower than the IEA estimate of 360,000 barrels a day. Taken together, the IEA estimates that product demand from China and Russia grew by a combined total of 500,000 barrels a day in 2016, more than double ESAI Energy's estimate of demand growth totaling 220,000 barrels a day.

The implication for crude production is that lower demand for products refined from crude also will lower demand for crude not only rebalancing the market more quickly, but also capping potential crude price increases. At least that's the way we read it.

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Before the EIA report, benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for March delivery traded down about 0.6% at around $52.90 a barrel and slipped to $52.60 after the report's release. WTI crude settled at $53.18 on Tuesday. The 52-week range on March futures is $38.10 to $56.24.

Distillate inventories were unchanged last week and remain above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Distillate product supplied averaged over 3.4 million barrels a day over the past four weeks, up 1.3% compared with the same period last year. Distillate production averaged 4.6 million barrels a day last week, down about 100,000 barrels compared with the prior week's production.

For the past week, crude imports averaged over 7.8 million barrels a day, down by about 568,000 barrels a day compared with the previous week. Refineries were running at 88.3% of capacity, with daily input averaging about 16 million barrels, about 421,000 barrels a day less than the previous week's average.

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According to AAA, the current national average pump price per gallon of regular gasoline is $2.297, down from $2.335 a week ago and up 1.2 cents compared with the month-ago price. Last year at this time, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $1.826 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.

XOM) traded up about 0.8%, at $85.80 in a 52-week range of $73.55 to $95.55. Over the past 12 months, Exxon stock has traded up about 11% and is down about 17.5% since August 2014, as of Tuesday's close." data-reactid="27">Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) traded up about 0.8%, at $85.80 in a 52-week range of $73.55 to $95.55. Over the past 12 months, Exxon stock has traded up about 11% and is down about 17.5% since August 2014, as of Tuesday's close.

CVX) traded up about 0.7% to$117.15, in a 52-week range of $79.85 to $119.00. As of last night's close, Chevron shares have added more than 39% over the past 12 months and also trade down about 13% since August 2014." data-reactid="32">Chevron Corp. (CVX) traded up about 0.7% to$117.15, in a 52-week range of $79.85 to $119.00. As of last night's close, Chevron shares have added more than 39% over the past 12 months and also trade down about 13% since August 2014.

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The United States Oil ETF (USO) traded up about 0.5%, at $11.43 in a 52-week range of $7.67 to $12.45.

The VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (OIH) traded up about 1.4% to $34.68, in a 52-week range of $21.29 to $36.35.

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Source : https://finance.yahoo.com/news/crude-oil-price-wobbles-another-170537743.html

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