Oil Down on Easing Demand

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures moved decidedly lower in midmorning trade Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported a sixth straight build for domestic commercial crude oil inventories while gasoline and distillate supplies were drawn down again last week.

The increase for U.S. crude supplies were in line with market expectations, but the EIA report was considered bearish because implied demand for gasoline and distillates declined during the week ended Oct. 30 after recent gains.

The EIA’s crude oil data wasn’t seen as very bearish because refiner inputs, a proxy for demand, rose 21,000 barrels per day, and crude stocks at the Cushing hub in Oklahoma that also serves as the delivery point for the West Texas Intermediate crude futures contract on NYMEX were drawn down 200,000 barrels for the week, albeit the decline was less than expected.

Near 9:50 a.m. CT on the NYMEX, December WTI crude futures slumped 82 cents to $47.08 bbl. December ULSD futures dropped 2.59 cents to $1.5401 gallon, reversing off a three-week spot high of $1.5816. The December RBOB futures contract eased 1.36 cents to $1.4319 gallon, reversing off a two-month spot high of $1.4714.

Earlier, the oil futures complex was initially boosted overnight by temporary pipeline outages on the Colonial system in Atlanta and Houston. Colonial is a key supplier of products from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, so the news primarily underpinned support for the RBOB contract.

The EIA reported crude stocks rose 2.8 million bbl in the week-ended Oct. 30 as expected, while gasoline stocks declined 3.3 million bbl, more than three times expectations. Distillate stocks declined 1.3 million bbl that was less than an estimated 2.2 million bbl.

The EIA were also mostly in line with the American Petroleum Institute’s data issued late Tuesday, except for distillates which API reported fell by a less than expected 200,000 bbl for the week.

George Orwel can be reached at george.orwel@telventdtn.com