WASHINGTON (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures were little changed in post-inventory trade Wednesday, with prompt-month RBOB futures down 3.5% even as government data showed implied demand for gasoline jumped to the highest level since about mid-March and U.S. crude oil stocks declined for a fifth straight week as participants watch and wait to see the impact from Hurricane Laura. Laura is forecast to make landfall Wednesday night or early Thursday near the Texas-Louisiana border as a Category 4 hurricane.
The Energy Information Administration reported commercial crude oil inventories declined 4.7 million barrels (bbl) during the week ended Aug. 21 to 507.8 million bbl, yet are about 19% above last year levels. At the key Cushing supply depot in Oklahoma, the delivery location for the NYMEX West Texas Intermediate futures contract, inventory declined a second week, down 279,000 bbl to 52.403 million bbl.
U.S. gasoline demand jumped 531,000 barrels per day (bpd) or more than 6% to 9.161 million bpd, breaking above 9 million bpd for the first time since the week ended March 13, when the national emergency order related to COVID-19 was issued. During the four weeks ended Aug. 21, implied gasoline demand at 8.822 million bpd was 9.8% below the corresponding 4-week period last year. Cumulative daily average demand for the week profiled was at 8.044 million bpd, 14.2% lower than the same timeframe a year earlier.
EIA reported implied distillate demand reversed the prior week drop and then some, rising 705,000 bpd or 22% in the week ended Aug. 21 to 3.958 million bpd, the highest since the week ended March 13 but 2.2% lower than this time last year. Four-week average distillate fuel oil demand at 3.693 million bpd was 5% lower than the same 4-week period in 2019 while cumulative daily average demand at 3.613 million bpd was 9.9% less than a year ago.
Total commercial petroleum inventories slid 7.8 million bbl last week, EIA reported. Total products supplied over the last 4-week period averaged 18.5 million bpd, down 14.6% from the same four weeks in 2019.
Near 12:15 p.m. EDT, NYMEX WTI October crude futures traded little changed at $43.44 bbl and front-month ULSD futures declined 1.52 cents to $1.2446 gallon. NYMEX RBOB September futures dropped 4.90 cents or 3.5% to $1.3469 gallon.
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