Commercial crude oil reserves fell significantly more than expected last week, according to figures released Wednesday by the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).
During the week ended August 26, commercial inventories contracted by 3.3 million barrels, the same as the previous week, while analysts expected a drop of only 950,000 barrels. At 418.3 million barrels, they are 6% lower than their average level for the last five years at the same time. In addition to commercial stocks, strategic reserves also shrunk by 3.1 million barrels, their lowest level since December 1984.
Recovery in the price of black gold
The other highlight of the weekly report is the surge in demand for petroleum products, especially gasoline and kerosene. Last week, gasoline inventories fell by 1.2 million barrels, a figure slightly higher than analysts’ expectations (1 million). The decrease in inventories greater than expected and the return of demand allowed the price of black gold to recover, while they were moving far into the red until then.
Around 3:00 p.m. GMT, the price of a barrel of American West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in October dropped 1.10%, to 90.63, after having dropped up to 3.67%. As for the barrel of Brent from the North Sea, also for delivery in October, it lost 2.62%, to 96.70 dollars. The refining capacity utilization rate in the United States contracted, to 92.7%, against 93.8% a week earlier.
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Exports slowed somewhat, but remained at a high level, while imports also fell slightly. After falling for two consecutive weeks, US crude production recovered to 12.1 million barrels per day, from 12.0 previously.