Crude prices drop after US inventories data
Crude oil prices were lower in afternoon trade Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration reported that crude stockpiles were down last week, but that gasoline and distillates inventories were up.
The EIA said that crude oil in storage dropped by 2.8 million barrels to 358 million barrels, still 8.5 million barrels above last year’s levels, while gasoline inventories added 700,000 barrels to 223 million barrels in storage and distillates grew by 2.2 million barrels to a total stockpile of 169.7 million barrels.
Crude inventories declined, as expected, on fewer imports and an increase in refinery activity last week.
Additionally, propane stockpiles added 2.145 million barrels to 55.155 million barrels in storage, 13.8 million barrels, or 20 percent, lower than last year’s levels.
The EIA said, however, that propane levels are just 2 percent lower than the 5-year average and 17 percent higher than 2008 levels, so that the skewed numbers can be attributed to an anomalous year in 2009.
September contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were 29 cents lower to $82.26 per barrel at 1:30 p.m. local time on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while at last report Brent crude was down 55 cents to $82.13 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London.
At the same time, Nymex September gasoline futures were 2 cents lower to $2.18 per gallon and September heating oil futures had dropped less than a cent to $2.20 per gallon, but September natural gas had added 8 cents to $4.72 per million British thermal units.
Meanwhile, the retail price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the United States added 2 cents overnight to $2,747 per gallon on average nationally.
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