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U.S. crude, gasoline stocks show big weekly drop while distillates rise - API

By Barani Krishnan -- U.S. crude oil and gasoline stockpiles showed big weekly declines last week while inventories of distillates registered a rise, petroleum industry group API said in a report Tuesday that is likely to be matched to some extent by forthcoming government data.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 6.076 million barrels during the week ended March 24, the API, or American Petroleum Institute, said.

The U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration, or EIA, is scheduled to provide an update on Wednesday of where crude stockpiles stood at the close of business on March 24.


In the previous week to March 17, the API reported a crude inventory build of 3.262M barrels. The API’s numbers serve as a precursor to the EIA’s data on the same, with the government agency reporting of late numbers that have not varied greatly from those cited by the industry group.

Should the EIA report a large crude inventory drop as well for last week, it could add to the bullish sentiment prevalent in oil markets this week as they rebound from weakness earlier in the month forced by the onset of a U.S. banking crisis.

Besides the crude draw, the API inventory report showed a decline in inventories of gasoline and a build in distillates.

There was a 5.891M-barrel draw in gasoline stocks for last week and a 0.548M-barrel gain in distillate stockpiles.

For last week, analysts tracked by expect the EIA to report a crude stockpile build of 92,000 barrels, versus the 1.117M barrel rise reported during the week to March 17.

On the gasoline inventory front, the consensus is for a drop of 1.617M barrels over the 6.4M barrel decline in the previous week. Automotive fuel gasoline is the No. 1 U.S. fuel product.

With distillate stockpiles, the expectation is for a drop of 1.455M barrels versus the prior week’s deficit of 3.313M. Distillates, which are refined into heating oil, diesel for trucks, buses, trains and ships and fuel for jets, have been the strongest component of the U.S. petroleum complex in terms of demand.

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