uploads///US crude oil inventories

Drop in US Crude Oil Inventories Boosts Oil Prices


Feb. 23 2018, Updated 12:35 p.m. ET

EIA’s US crude oil inventories  

On February 22, 2017, the EIA released its weekly crude oil inventory report. The EIA reported that US crude oil inventories decreased by 1.6 MMbbls (million barrels) to 420.5 MMbbls on February 9–16, 2018. The inventories also declined by 98.2 MMbbls or 19% YoY (year-over-year).

Reuters estimated that US crude oil inventories could have increased by 1.8 MMbbls on February 9–16, 2018. The unexpected drop in inventories supported oil prices on February 22, 2018. US crude oil futures contracts rose 1.8% to $62.77 per barrel on the same day.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) rose 1.1% to 67.3 on February 22, 2018, while the iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IXC) rose 0.7% to 33.7. These ETFs have exposure to upstream energy companies. 

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Refinery demand, imports, and exports 

US crude oil refinery demand decreased ~2% to 15,833,000 bpd (barrels per day) on February 9–16, 2018, according to the EIA. However, demand increased by 562,000 bpd or 3.6% YoY.

US crude oil imports decreased 11% to 7,021,000 bpd on February 9–16, 2018, according to the EIA. The imports also decreased by 265,000 bpd or ~3.6% YoY.

US crude oil exports increased by 722,000 bpd or 54% to 2,044,000 bpd on February 9–16, 2018. The exports increased by 833,000 bpd or 69% YoY. Changes in oil supply and demand impact inventories.


US crude oil prices were up 12.4% in 2017, while US oil inventories declined ~12% during the same period. Inventories declined ~21.5% from the peak hit on March 31, 2017. US crude oil prices have risen 24% since March 31, 2017.

The VelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil ETN (UWT) and the United States 12 Month Oil Fund (USL) have increased ~40% and ~16%, respectively, since March 31, 2017. These ETFs follow crude oil futures.

US oil inventories are 1.8% above their five-year average, which is bearish for oil prices. If the difference drops, it’s a bullish sign for oil prices.

Next, we’ll discuss US crude oil production.


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