Oil/USA: Crude stocks increase by 2.4 million barrels

The increase in weekly black gold reserves is close to expectations. Gasoline stocks, on the other hand, rose more than expected to 5 million barrels against 1.6 million expected.

Commercial crude oil reserves rose by 2.4 million barrels last week in the United States, close to estimates that had been betting on a rise of 2 million, according to figures released on Wednesday by the United States Information Agency. on Energy (EIA).

Gasoline stocks, on the other hand, rose more than expected to 5 million barrels when analysts expected 1.6 million, according to a consensus established by the Bloomberg agency.

At the end of the week ended February 3, commercial crude inventories amounted to 455.1 million barrels, or 4% above the average recorded for the last five years at this time.

This is the seventh consecutive week of increases in commercial stocks.

The US government has not touched the strategic reserves (SPR), which it stopped tapping in mid-January after having dipped into it for 17 months to inflate the supply of crude and lower gasoline prices. At 371.6 million barrels, they remain at their lowest since December 1983.

The swelling of crude inventories and especially that of barrels of gasoline slowed the rise in crude prices on Wednesday morning.

While prices were up more than 1% before the publication of the report, the price of a barrel of Brent from the North Sea for delivery in April fell 0.06% to 83.63 dollars at 3:55 p.m. GMT.

Its American equivalent, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in March, only gleaned 0.12% to 77.23 dollars.

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The increase in inventories last week is explained “by a decline in exports accompanied by robust imports”, noted Matt Smith, expert with Kpler.

Exports declined by almost 600,000 barrels per day to 2.9 million barrels per day (mb/d). Imports amounted to 7.05 mb/d, down 225,000 b/d.

US crude production also increased by 100,000 bpd to 12.3mb/d. “This is its highest level since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020,” said Matt Smith.

Refinery capacity utilization also increased to 87.9% from 85.7% the previous week, which explains the swelling of gasoline stocks. However, this utilization rate remains below the seasonal norm, further noted the Kpler analyst.

Weekly inventories of distillates (fuel oil, diesel, etc.) rose by 2.9 million barrels, more than analysts expected (+1 million).

Overall consumption of petroleum products by the United States increased by 430,000 barrels per day to 20.5 million bpd.

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