Oil Mixed After EIA Data

NEW YORK (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures moved mixed in midmorning trade after the Energy Information Administration issued mixed data showing a build in domestic crude oil stocks, but gasoline stocks were drawn more than expected and implied demand for gasoline and distillates rose sharply during the week-ended Feb. 19.

The EIA data for crude was also less bearish than data released late Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute.

Near 9:50 a.m. CT, NYMEX April West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 91 cents to $30.96 barrel. The NYMEX March ULSD futures contract eased 0.31 cents to $1.0190 gallon, paring losses after falling to a fresh 1-1/2 week low of $1.0005. March RBOB futures reversed higher, edging up 0.92 cents to $0.9755 gallon.

EIA reported U.S. crude stockpiles increased 3.5 million bbl, higher than the expected 2.2 million barrels per day build, and crude inputs, a proxy for demand, fell 163,000 bpd for the week.

For products, EIA showed a 2.2 million bbl gasoline stock draw, which is more than an expected 1.5 million bbl stock decline. Distillate fuel stocks fell 1.7 million bbl, less than an expected 2.7 million bbl draw.

The API late Tuesday reported crude stocks soared 7.1 million bbl, gasoline stocks rose 600,000 bbl and distillate stocks fell 300,000 bbl for the week reviewed.

NYMEX oil futures came under pressure overnight after Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi rejected cutting production while endorsing a freeze in oil output at January levels as per last week's tentative deal with Russia, conditioned on other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries joining in.

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