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22 April 2017, 01:09 | Jan Cross
The US government's Energy Information Administration Wednesday reported a drawdown in commercial crude inventories for the week ended April 14, which should have been a bullish influence, but was overshadowed by a bearish build of 1.57 million barrels in gasoline stocks, against analyst expectations of a 2-million-barrel decline.
Based on China's National Bureau of Statistics, the country's March gasoline output surge 2.5 percent on a year over year basis to 11.24 million tonnes, marking its all-time high since April 2014.
The price increases on Thursday followed a more than 3.5% drop in both crude benchmarks during the previous session after the EIA reported surging petrol inventories as well as another rise in U.S. crude oil production to 9.25-million barrels a day, up nearly 10% since mid-2016.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were down 4 cents at $52.37 a barrel.
U.S. distillate production rose by 90,000 bpd (barrels per day) to 5,150,000 bpd on April 7-14, 2017. Gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels, despite heavier refining activity.
"The glaring rise in USA gasoline refined product inventories, in combination with persistent lower-48 production growth, keeps us cautious on oil prices", said Chris Kettenmann, chief energy strategist at Macro Risk Advisors LLC in NY. And OPEC, in the wake of its production-freeze agreement late a year ago, appears to be once again losing market share - the recapturing of which was the reason the oil sheiks engaged in their price war in 2014 in the first place.
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The continued growth in US production and the rise in stockpiles forced the market to respond bearishly based on the increased inventory outlook.
Last year's average barrel price was $42.84 per barrel, the report said, but this year the average should rise to $55.23.
Refineries processed 16.9 million barrels a day, up 241,000 barrels from the prior week and the highest since the record 17.1 million was touched in January.
"People dump gasoline in the USA because it's one of the few places in the world where demand has been consistently good", he said. "The reasons are twofold".
Gasoline futures lead the losses the energy futures, with May gasoline RBK7, -3.12% down 1.2 cents, or 0.7%, at $1.699 a gallon.
The declines are welcome news after steady gains earlier this year that pushed petroleum inventories to record levels. Crude prices also fell, despite a draw in crude inventories.
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