Surprise decline in US crude oil inventories

Crude oil inventories in the United States, to analysts’ surprise, fell last week while production fell somewhat, according to figures released Wednesday by the US Energy Information Agency ( EIA).

During the week ended March 8, crude oil reserves fell 3.9 million barrels to 449.1 million, where analysts polled by Bloomberg predicted growth of 3 million barrels.

American production, meanwhile, fell slightly after reaching a record in previous weeks, with the United States extracting an average of 12 million barrels per day (mbd).

The rate of refineries has at the same time stabilized, the latter operating on average at 87.6% of their capacity against 87.5% the previous week.

Gasoline inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels, more than the decline of 3 million anticipated by analysts.

Reserves of other distilled products (heating oil and diesel) increased by 400,000 barrels, where analysts predicted a decline of 2 million barrels.

Crude imports fell slightly to 6.75 mbd from 7 mbd the previous week.

Exports, which had reached a record level in February since these statistics were compiled (1991), continued to fall, to 2.55 mbd.

Also scrutinized since they are used as a reference for the New York oil price, WTI crude stocks at the Cushing (Oklahoma) terminal fell by 600,000 barrels to 46.9 million barrels.

The price of a barrel of American oil, which posted higher before the publication of the EIA report, rose still a little more after the publication of these figures and gained 1.11 dollars to 57.98 dollars around 10:45 am on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex).

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