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The EIA’s Inventory Data Could Fail to Propel Oil Prices

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EIA inventory data

The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) reported a fall of 2.7 MMbbls (million barrels) in US crude oil inventories to 437.1 MMbbls in the week that ended on January 11. 

A Reuters poll had indicated an expected fall of ~1.32 MMbbls.

Today at 10:34 AM EST, US crude oil February futures were $0.05 below their previous closing price. After the EIA’s release of its inventory data, oil prices fell again. The fall in US crude oil inventories left inventories 8% above their five-year average—the same as in the previous week—which could pull US crude oil prices below $50.

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The EIA reported a rise of 7.5 MMbbls in gasoline inventories, much higher than the estimated a rise of ~2.76 MMbbls according to a Reuters poll. With this rise, gasoline inventories are 6.0% higher than their five-year average—one percentage point higher than in the previous week. This increase could further put pressure on oil prices.

The graph above shows the inventories spread for US crude oil and gasoline. The inventories spread indicates the difference between inventories and their five-year average.

Oil prices and US equity indexes

Changes in oil prices can influence US equity indexes such as the S&P 500 Index (SPY), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA), and the S&P Mid-Cap 400 (IVOO). The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE), which includes energy stocks that are sensitive to oil, can also react to changes in oil prices.

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