Oil Futures Mostly Lower on EIA Data

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

CRANBURY, N.J. (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange nearest delivered oil futures were mixed following the release of weekly supply data from the Energy Information Administration that was supportive for oil products and bearish for crude, aligning with the seasonal trend during the refinery maintenance period.

NYMEX April RBOB futures rallied to a fresh better-than four-month high immediately following the publication of the EIA report, which showed a greater-than-expected 4.2-million-barrel (bbl) draw in gasoline stocks to an eight-week low at 250.7 million bbl for the week-ended March 1. The data again showed an improvement against year ago, with gasoline stocks now below the year-ago total for the first time in 8 1/2 months.

Implied gasoline demand gained 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 9.062 million bpd during the week profiled, but is down 215,000 bpd against year prior and 21,000 bpd less cumulatively in 2019 versus the comparable year-ago period at 8.934 million bpd. The year-on-year difference in implied demand is offset by a lower net import-export rate, with U.S. refiners shipping out 285,000 bpd more gasoline than imported during the first two months of 2019, a year-on-year improvement of 25,000 bpd.

Total U.S. oil product net exports for the week-ended March 1 at a 3.559 million bpd 2019 high, and 446,000 bpd or 17% more on a four-week average basis at 3.076 million bpd.

EIA reported distillate stocks declined a more-than-expected 2.4 million bbl to a 2019 low at 136.0 million bbl, while implied distillate demand is up cumulatively this year by 106,000 bpd or 2.6% at 4.198 million bpd.

A 7.1 million bbl build in U.S. commercial crude stocks pushed supply to 452.9 million bbl, up 27.0 million bbl or 6.3% against year ago. The large increase can be attributed to a 1.084 million bpd gain in imports from a 23-year low to 7.001 million bpd while exports declined 556,000 bpd to a 2.803 million bpd three-week low for a net weekly supply increase of 11.48 million bbl.

In late-morning trading Wednesday, NYMEX April West Texas Intermediate futures were down $0.70 near $55.80 bbl, widening a discount position to May Brent on the Intercontinental Exchange, which slipped $0.35 to near $65.50 bbl. NYMEX April RBOB futures faded from a $1.7896 high, up slightly at $1.7695 gallon, with the April ULSD contract erasing gains following the EIA data release, down 1.05 cents near $2.0050 gallon.

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

(BAS)

Brian Milne