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Crude, refined products prices dive on EIA report of crude build

HOUSTON, December 30, 2015 (PCW) -- NYMEX crude futures prices fell Wednesday after government figures showed a build in crude inventories and a spike in crude imports.

As of 10:19 am CST, February NYMEX WTI was down $1.14/bbl to $36.73/bbl, February gasoline was off 3.25 cpg to 125.28 cpg and February diesel was lower by 2.71 cpg to 113.09 cpg.

The US Energy Information Administration weekly statistics for the week ending December 25 showed a 2.6 million bbl increase in crude inventories, to 487.4 million bbls. Domestic crude oil production was put at 9.202 million b/d, up 23,000 b/d for the week and up 81,000 b/dy vs the same period last year.

Imports of crude up were up 566,000 b/d to 7.9 million b/d. Over the past four weeks, crude imports were 7.9 million b/d compared to the same period last year, an increase of 4.7% compared to the year-ago period.

Total product demand over the past four weeks was put at 20.2 million b/d, down 0.2% versus the same period last year. US refinery inputs were 16.7 million b/d, up 214,000 bbls compared to last week.

Gasoline inventories were up 900,000 bbls to 221.4 million bbls (“in the middle of the average range,” per the EIA). Gasoline demand over the past four weeks showed a 0.4% increase compared to the same time last year to 9.3 million b/d.

Distillate stocks were up 1.8 million bbls to 153.1 million bbls (“in the upper half of the average range,” per the EIA). Distillate demand over the past four weeks was down 11.3% to 3.6 million b/d compared to the same period last year. It had been a warm end of the year until very recently, which affected heating oil demand. Diesel exports have slackened as well.

Inputs of crude oil nationwide to refineries on a percentage basis were up by 1.3% on the week, put at 92.6 % of capacity. In the Gulf Coast (PADD III), runs were up 0.5% to 94.6%.

Exports of all products was put at 2.259 million b/d, up 223,000 b/d for the week, a somewhat surprising figure given the sense in the market that exports – of diesel especially – are getting more difficult for US refiners. -- Robert Sharp