The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory release showed
that crude stockpiles jumped to their all-time high level, as
imports climbed. The report further revealed that within the
'refined products' category, gasoline stocks fell, while
distillate supplies were up from the week-ago levels. Meanwhile,
refiners scaled up their utilization rates by 0.9%.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Petroleum Status
Report, containing data of the previous week ending Friday,
outlines information regarding the weekly change in petroleum
inventories held and produced by the U.S., both locally and
The report provides an overview of the level of reserves and
their movements, thereby helping investors understand the
demand/supply dynamics of petroleum products. It is an indicator
of current oil prices and volatility that affect the businesses
of the companies engaged in the oil and refining industry.
Analysis of the Data
The federal government's EIA report revealed that crude
inventories jumped by 6.70 million barrels for the week ending
Apr 26, 2013, following a climb of 947,000 barrels in the
The analysts surveyed by Platts - the energy information arm of
McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.
) - had expected crude stocks to go up some 1.4 million barrels.
A surge in the level of imports led to the steep stockpile
build-up with the world's biggest oil consumer even as refiners
improved their utilization rates and domestic production receded
from their highest level since 1992.
However, crude inventories at the Cushing terminal in Oklahoma -
the key delivery hub for U.S. crude futures traded on the New
York Mercantile Exchange - were down 1.38 million barrels from
the previous week's level to 49.80 million barrels. Stocks are
currently just under the all-time high of 51.86 million barrels
reached in January.
Following the weekly inventory increase, at 395.28 million
barrels, current crude supplies are 5.2% above the year-earlier
level, and comfortably exceed the upper limit of the average for
this time of the year. The crude supply cover was up from 26.0
days in the previous week to 26.6 days. In the year-ago period,
the supply cover was 25.9 days.
Supplies of gasoline were down for the eleventh time in 12 weeks
despite a decline in domestic consumption. The fall in gasoline
inventories could be attributed to lower imports and production.
The 1.82 million barrels withdrawal - double the analysts'
projections for a 900,000 barrels decrease in supply level - took
gasoline stockpiles down to 215.98 million barrels.
Notwithstanding this drawdown, the existing inventory level of
the most widely used petroleum product is 3.0% higher than the
year-earlier level and is midway through the average range.
Distillate fuel supplies (including diesel and heating oil) edged
up 474,000 barrels last week, compared to analysts' expectations
for an unchanged inventory level. The increase in distillate fuel
stocks - the third in as many weeks - could be attributed to
higher imports and production, partially offset by stronger
At 115.75 million barrels, distillate supplies are 6.6% below the
year-ago level and are in the lower limit of the average range
for this time of the year.
Refinery utilization was up 0.9% from the prior week to 84.4%.
A bullish data from the EIA generally acts as a positive catalyst
for crude prices and buoy producers, such as
Exxon Mobil Corp.
). With an improvement in the companies' ability to generate
positive earnings surprises, they can then move higher from their
current Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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