Oil Futures Move Mixed Midday

Brian L Milne
By  Brian L. Milne , DTN Refined Fuels Editor

CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures nearest to delivery were mixed in choppy late morning trade Wednesday, moving off an initial steep decline in the immediate reaction to weekly data from the Energy Information Administration that showed a much-larger-than-expected 8.0 million bbl build in commercial crude stocks during the final week of the third quarter.

The large crude build pushed commercial stocks to 404.0 million bbl and even with the five-year average for the first time in six weeks, and the year-on-year supply deficit narrowed a steep 14.0 million bbl to 61.0 million bbl or 13.1%.

Crude stocks increased even as the refinery run rate held flat at 90.4% on the week following prior week's 5.0% drop. U.S. crude exports tumbled 917,000 bpd from a nine-week high to 1.723 million bpd.

U.S. crude production held at an 11.1 million bpd record high during the week profiled.

The EIA report was price supportive for ULSD futures, with EIA reporting a more-than-expected 1.8 million bbl decline in distillate fuel inventory that pressed stocks down to a 136.1 million bbl four-week low during the week-ended Sept. 28. Distillate fuel supplied to the primary U.S. market tumbled 414,000 bpd to a 3.877 million bpd three-week low, while exports jumped 416,000 bpd to a 1.564 million bpd three-month high.

Gasoline stocks were drawn down 500,000 bbl to 235.2 million bbl compared to market estimates for a build, yet hold at a record high for this time of year. Implied gasoline demand ramped up 115,000 bpd to 9.102 million bpd during the final week of the third quarter, although during the four weeks ended Sept. 28 declined 138,000 bpd against the comparable year-ago period at 9.318 million bpd.

NYMEX November West Texas Intermediate futures were up about $0.25 at $75.50 bbl late morning after trading at an intraday low of $74.30 bbl immediately following the publication of the EIA report, and about 30 minutes later traded at a $75.83 bbl high, holding just below Tuesday's $75.91 bbl nearly four-year high on the spot continuous chart.

NYMEX November ULSD futures followed a similar pattern, dropping to a $2.3897 gallon intraday low as traders got their first glimpse of the EIA data, and traded at a nearly four-year spot high of $2.4296 gallon near 11 AM ET. The ULSD contract was up about 1.15 cents at 2.4190 gallon late morning.

NYMEX November RBOB futures were trading near $2.1225 gallon late morning, down about 0.45 cents, with the backwardation against December delivery narrowing to 0.35 cents.

Brian L. Milne can be reached at brian.milne@dtn.com


Brian Milne