Crude Oil Prices Settle Lower After Surprise Inventory Build

Aug 01, 2018

WTI Crude Oil prices settled lower Wednesday after data showed an unexpected build in U.S. crude stockpiles as imports increased and exports fell.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for September delivery fell 1.6% to settle at $67.66 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent fell 2.54% to trade at $72.40 barrel.

Inventories of U.S. crude rose by 3.803 million barrels for the week ended July 27, confounding expectations for a draw of 2.794 million barrels, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The unexpected build in crude supplies came as imports rose by about 1.352 million barrels a day (bpd) and exports fell by 1.373 million bpd, the EIA said.

Gasoline inventories – one of the products that crude is refined into – fell by 2.536 million barrels, topping expectations for a draw of 1.288 million barrels, while supplies of distillate – the class of fuels that includes diesel and Heating Oil – rose by 2.983 million barrels, against expectations for a build of 0.264 million barrels.

The draw in products came as refinery activity rose to 96.1% of their capacity last week from 93.8% a week earlier, with inputs averaging about 17.5 million barrels per day during, up 195,000 barrels from the prior week, the EIA said.

U.S. oil production fell to 10.9 million barrels a day from a record high 11 million barrels a day reported the week before. Some analysts attributed the fall in output to producers reining in production as they struggle to transport their oil from the Permian Basin to market amid pipeline shortages.

Oil prices were also hampered by a reported increase in UAE output by about 85,000 barrels a day July. While Saudi output rose to a near-record high of 10.65 million barrels a day last month, Bloomberg reported.