Crude inventories contain mixed surprises
The weekly US crude oil inventory data from the Department of Energy held at least a couple of surprises Wednesday, as crude oil stockpiles were up by 200,000 barrels in the week ending July 29 and gasoline stockpiles were down more than had been expected.
The rise in crude oil inventories came mostly on an increase of 11 million barrels per day in imports. Gasoline inventories were down substantially more than expected, falling by 4 million barrels on the week.
This decline was partly attributed to drops in domestic output, and sent September delivery gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange up by 1.34 cents to $1.7940 per gallon.
Distillate inventories were up by 1.5 million barrels on the week, the twelfth weekly increase in a row.
Crude oil prices were down on the inventories data, after having been up in early trading. West Texas Intermediate for September delivery closed at $60.86 per barrel, down $1.03 from Tuesday’s close, after having gone as high as $62.50 during the day.
Brent crude on the International Petroleum Exchange closed down by 97 cents at $59.65 per barrel after rising to $61.26 earlier.
The higher prices before the release of inventories figures was due in large part to a revised estimate of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes expected this season.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said earlier this week that it expects 21 tropical storms in the Atlantic, up from an earlier forecast of 15, and that nine of those storms are expected to strengthen into hurricanes.