In Japan, total commercial oil stocks rose by 3.2 mb in April, following a drop in the previous two months to stand at 150.7 mb. Despite this build, Japanese oil inventories are 18.6 mb or 11% below what they were a year ago and 22.4 mb or 12.9% lower than the five-year average. Within components, crude and products rose by 0.5 mb and 2.7 mb, respectively.
Japanese commercial crude oil stocks rose in April for the second consecutive month to stand at 90.7 mb. At this level, they are still 8.4 mb or 8.5% below a year ago at the same time, remaining 11.5 mb or 11.2% below the five-year average. The stock build in crude oil was driven by lower crude runs, which fell by around 253,000 b/d or 7.0%, to average nearly 3.4 mb/d. This level was 3.7% lower than the previous year at the same time. Lower crude oil imports limited a further build in crude oil stocks. Indeed, crude oil imports fell by 300,000 b/d or 7.8% to average 3.5 mb/d. At this level, they were also 4.3% less than the same period a year ago. Direct crude burning in power plants declined by nearly 3.5% in April compared with the previous month, averaging 183 tb/d, and showing a decline of 10.9% over the same period a year ago.
Japan’s total product inventories rose by 2.7 mb in April, reversing the fall of the previous two months. At 60.0 mb, product stocks showed a deficit of 10.2 mb or 14.6% compared with one year ago at the same time and remained below the five-year average by a deficit of 10.9 mb or 15.4%. A fall in domestic oil sales was behind the build in product inventories. Indeed, Japanese oil product sales fell by almost 660,000 b/d to average 2.96 mb/d in April and stood 4.6% below one year earlier at the same time. All products witnessed a stock build, with the exception of naphtha.
Gasoline stocks rose by 1.1 mb in April, reversing the build of the previous month to stand at 12.8 mb, which is 1.4 mb or 9.8% less than the same time a year earlier and 1.9 mb or 12.% below the five-year average. A decline of 18.5% in domestic sales, combined with a strong increase in exports, was behind the stock build.
Distillate stocks also rose by 2.8 mb in April, reversing the fall of the previous seven consecutive months. At 24.0 mb, distillate stocks are 5.6 mb or 18.8% below the same period a year ago and 4.0 mb or 14.3% lower than the seasonal average. All distillate components experienced a build in April. Jet fuel inventories rose by 19.6% on the back of weaker domestic sales, which fell by almost 20% in April, when compared with the previous month. Kerosene stocks also rose by 9.6%, driven by lower domestic sales due to mild weather. Gasoil inventories went up by 13.5% on the back of a decline of nearly 20% in inland consumption.
Total residual fuel oil stocks rose by 0.5 mb to end the month of April at 15.2 mb, which is 0.9 mb or 5.8% less than a year ago and 1.8 mb or 10.5% lower than the five-year average. Within fuel oil components, fuel oil A stocks rose by 4.0%, and fuel oil B.C stocks increased by 2.8%. This build in residual oil could be attributed to lower domestic sales combined with higher imports.
Naphtha stocks fell by 1.7 mb, finishing the month of April at 8.0 mb, indicating a deficit of 2.4 mb or 23.0% compared with a year ago and 3.2 mb or 29.0% below the seasonal norm. The stock draw came from higher domestic sales, which rose by 1.0% combined with lower output, which declined by nearly 13% in April from the previous month.