U.S. commercial crude oil supplies fell significantly more than expected last week, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), which also showed a slowdown in gasoline consumption.
In the week ended June 24, commercial inventories of black gold fell by a net 2.7 million barrels, while analysts saw them falling by only 950,000 barrels. The movement is all the more unexpected as strategic crude reserves have again recorded a sharp contraction (-6.9 million barrels).
In total, U.S. oil inventories fell by nearly 10 million barrels over a week. Due to a technical problem, the EIA did not publish a weekly report last week.
In the two weeks since the last inventory report, reserves have fallen by 16.9 million barrels. Commercial reserves, which the Biden administration has decided to use heavily in an attempt to ease oil prices, are currently at a 36-year low.
For Kpler’s Matt Smith, this surprise drop in inventories is linked to the ramping up of U.S. refineries, whose utilization rate is
rose to 95%, compared to 93.7% two weeks ago.
Another factor is the decrease in imports and the maintenance of a high level of crude exports. One of the highlights of the report is gasoline demand, which has shown signs of softening in the past two weeks, corresponding to the start of the summer travel season in the United States.
It was below the symbolic threshold of 9 million barrels per day in each of the two weeks.
Analysts have been talking in recent weeks about the possibility of a slowdown in U.S. gasoline consumption, undermined by high prices
records at the pump.
Gasoline reserves rose by 2.6 million barrels while analysts were expecting a slight decline of 100,000 barrels. The reserves of
kerosene and gasoil also increased, while demand for these products declined.
Overall demand for refined products nevertheless remained strong at 20 million barrels per day, its level of the four-week average
As for U.S. crude oil production, it continued to rise, to 12.1 million barrels per day, compared to 12 the previous week. It is slowly approaching the 13 million barrels per day that the U.S. was producing in early March 2020, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.