Oil Futures Pare Losses

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange trimmed earlier declines after late-morning inventory data reported a modest drawdown in U.S. commercial crude supply during the week ended Jan. 17, with gasoline stockpiles increasing and distillate fuels posting the first decline in four weeks amid higher demand for both refined fuels.

Near 12:15 p.m. EST, NYMEX March West Texas Intermediate futures dropped $1.37 to $55.44 barrel (bbl) and Intercontinental Exchange March Brent fell $1.21 to $62 bbl. NYMEX February ULSD futures declined 2.38 cents to $1.7764 gallon and February RBOB futures dropped 2.77 cents to $1.5519 gallon.

Energy Information Administration late morning reported U.S. commercial crude stocks decreased 404,992 million bbl to 428.1 million bbl, about 2% below the five-year average. The new estimate contrasts sharply with the American Petroleum Institute's estimate of a 1.57 million bbl crude build for the reviewed week, but below market's expectations of a 2 million bbl drawdown.

The modest crude draw occurred as oil imports declined 120,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.4 million bpd last week and exports decreased by 67,000 bpd to 3.414 million bpd.

Government data also showed supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma -- the delivery location for WTI futures -- dropped 961,000 bbl to 34.882 million bbl, the lowest level since the week ended Nov. 2, 2018.

In refined products, data reported gasoline inventories increased for an 11th consecutive week, up 1.7 million bbl to 260.032 million bbl, a record high, and about 4% more than the five-year average. Still, the market expected a much higher build after API data showed stocks jumped 4.5 million bbl in the profiled week. The build comes as both production rate and gasoline imports held higher, even as demand for motor gasoline reversed up by 104,000 bpd to 8.662 million bpd.

Distillate fuel inventories decreased for the first time in four weeks, down 1.2 million bbl to 146 million bbl, 2.5% higher than the corresponding week in 2019. Supplies are about 2% below the five-year average.

Implied demand for distillates jumped 1.204 million bpd to 4.389 million bpd as of Jan. 17, 6% lower than the same week in 2019.

Total commercial petroleum inventories declined 1.9 million bbl last week, data shows.

Liubov Georges can be reached at luibov.georges@dtn.com


Liubov Georges