Oil: surprise slight rise in US stocks

During the week ended April 22, crude reserves increased by 700,000 barrels. Analysts expected them to remain stable.

Commercial crude oil reserves in the United States increased very slightly by 700,000 barrels during the week ended April 22, while gasoline inventories fell.

U.S. crude inventories stood at 414.4 million barrels and remain 16% below the five-year average, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Agency ( EIA). Analysts expected them to remain flat.

Gasoline prices fell by 1.6 million barrels, showing that the car travel season has started well. Market participants were expecting a slight increase.

Reserves of distilled products (fuel oil, diesel, etc.) fell by 1.4 million barrels and are 21% below the five-year average.

Oil prices, which were on the downward slope before the publication of these figures, regained some lost ground.

The barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in June dropped 0.36% to 104.59 dollars around 3:30 p.m. GMT. The barrel of Brent from the North Sea, with maturity in June, lost 0.61% to 101.08 dollars.

While commercial crude stocks have fallen little, strategic reserves have again fallen sharply, with Joe Biden’s government continuing to draw on these stocks to ease pressure on oil prices.

These strategic reserves fell by almost 3 million barrels to now stand at 553.1 million barrels.

Since the beginning of September, Joe Biden’s government has been drawing on strategic reserves, which have melted by more than 60 million barrels in six months.

At the beginning of April, the American president also announced that the United States would use more than 180 million additional barrels from strategic reserves to curb the rise in crude prices over the next six months.

Although they remain strong, exports fell slightly to 3.7 million barrels per day (mb/d), down more than 500,000 barrels mb/d. Imports are almost stable at 5.9 mb/d.

On the domestic market, demand increased from 19 mb/d to 19.8 million.

US crude production remained stable at 11.9 mb/d and refinery capacity utilization was 90.3%.

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