Crude oil inventories in the U.S. unexpectedly moved down during the week ended March 16, official data showed Wednesday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration in its weekly crude oil report said U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 1.20 million barrels to 346.30 million barrels last week, but are in the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.
The week before, crude oil inventories increased by 1.80 million barrels to 347.50 million barrels.
Moreover, total motor gasoline inventories moved down by 1.20 million barrels last week, after decreasing 1.40 million barrels in the prior week, but are in the upper limit of the average range.
Analysts were expecting crude oil inventories to gain 2.10 million barrels and gasoline stocks to ease by 1.8 million barrels last week.
Late Tuesday, data from the API revealed that U.S. crude oil inventories eased 1.40 million barrels and gasoline stocks shed a similar 1.40 million barrels in the week ended March 16.
Oil refinery inputs averaged just under 14.40 million barrels per day during the week, which were 100,000 barrels per day below the previous week's average as refineries operated at 82.20 percent of their operable capacity.
Meantime, U.S. crude oil imports during the week averaged 8.20 million barrels per day last week, down by 492,000 barrels per day from the previous week, official data revealed. Over the last four weeks, imports have averaged 8.70 million barrels per day, which were 215,000 barrels per day below the same four-week period last year.
Light Sweet Crude Oil (WTI) futures for May delivery are edging up $0.35 to $106.42 a barrel.
by RTT Staff Writer
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