Yesterday, WTI crude closed down $0.22/bbl to $49.17, RBOB closed down $0.0091/gal to $1.6208, and HO finished down $0.0106/gal to $1.6292. The weakness yesterday was still driven by the uncertainty around OPEC compliance on production cuts, and the continued U.S. shale production. More information to come from the meeting in Vienna on August 21st. The next piece of news was the API statistics released last night which finally gave the market some support after the market has been down all week. The API statistics showed a large draw of 7.8 million barrels in crude inventories. If this follows up in the DOE statistics, it would be the sixth straight week of declines in crude inventories. Distillates drew 157,000 barrels, and gasoline built by 1.5 million barrels. Wednesday morning, WTI and HO were both trading up and RBOB was trading down.
The DOE statistics were released at 10:30 a.m. ET and were pretty similar to the APIs. The DOE stats showed crude inventories drew 6.5 million barrels, however, Cushing had a build of 569,000 barrels. Refined products were still mixed, but the DOEs showed gasoline built by 3.4 million barrels and distillates drew by 1.7 million barrels. Refinery utilization actually increased to 96.3% even though expectations was a decrease. However, the crude run rate was at one of the all-time highs at almost 17.6 million barrels a day. Exports continue to manage the higher run rates for both gasoline and diesel. After the release of the DOEs, initially the market dropped off across the board. However as of 11 a.m. ET, WTI and HO are both up, and RBOB is off, reflecting exactly what the DOEs reported.