Crude Inventories Decline By 4.5 Million Barrels

Key Insights

  • Crude inventories missed analyst expectations. 
  • Domestic oil production remained unchanged at 13.2 million bpd. 
  • The U.S. did not buy oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

On October 18, EIA released its Weekly Petroleum Status Report. The report indicated that crude inventories declined by 4.5 million barrels from the previous week, compared to analyst consensus of -0.3 million barrels. At current levels, U.S. crude oil inventories are about 5% below the five-year average for this time of the year.

Total motor gasoline inventories declined by 2.4 million barrels, while distillate fuel inventories decreased by 3.2 million barrels. Crude oil imports averaged 5.9 million bpd, declining by 387,000 bpd from the previous week.

Strategic Petroleum Reserve remained unchanged at 351.3 million bpd. The U.S. is not ready to buy more oil at current levels as additional purchases will serve as a bullish catalyst for oil prices.

Domestic oil production has also remained unchanged at 13.2 million bpd. Production has recently climbed above 13.0 million bpd and it looks that it will stabilize above this psychologically important level.

WTI oil is trading near the $88.00 level after the release of the EIA report, while Brent oil settled above the $91.00 level. The report provided some support to oil prices, but traders are mostly focused on rising tensions in the Middle East.

Today, Iran proposed to impose an oil embargo on Israel. According to recent reports, OPEC has no plans for any action. At this point, the market does not believe that OPEC countries will listen to Iran’s call, although Iran’s proposal increases the geopolitical premium for oil.

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