In Japan, total commercial oil stocks fell by 2.2 mb in April, reversing the stock builds of the last three months, to stand at 143.9 mb, which was 6.8 mb or 4.5% lower than a year ago and 24.2 mb or 14.4% below the five-year average. Within the components, crude fell by 3.5 mb, while product stocks rose by 1.3 mb.
Japanese commercial crude oil stocks fell in April, reversing the build of last month, to stand at 84.6 mb, which was 6.1 mb or 6.7% below a year ago at the same time and 15.1 mb below the seasonal norm. The stock draw was driven by lower imports, which fell by around 335,000 b/d or 9.1% to average 3.4 mb/d in April. A slight decline in crude throughput limited further drops in crude oil inventories. Indeed, crude throughput fell by 58,000 b/d or 1.7% to average 3.3 mb/d. Refineries were running at 85.3%, 0.9 pp below last month, but remained 0.5% above a year ago at the same time.
Japan’s total product inventories rose by 1.3 mb in April to stand at 59.3 mb. Despite this build, product stocks were 1.2 mb or 9.2% below the same time a year ago, and showed a deficit of 9.2 mb or 13.4% below the five-year average. The build was driven mainly by higher domestic sales, which increased by 7.2% to stand at 3.1 mb/d, but they were 6.1% higher than a year ago at the same time, making the first y-o-y gain in 13 months. All products experienced stock builds, with the exception of naphtha.
Gasoline stocks rose by 0.4 mb in April to stand at 11.1 mb, indicating a deficit of 1.7 mb or 13.3% below the same time a year ago and 3.0 mb or 21.3% below the fiveyear average. This stock build was driven by lower gasoline demand, which declined by around 5.6% to average 0.90 mb/d. Higher gasoline imports also contributed to the build.
Distillate stocks also rose by 0.9 mb in April to stand at 24.5 mb, which was 0.5 mb or 2.0% above the same period a year ago, yet 2.5 mb or 9.3% lower than the seasonal average. Within distillate components, gasoil fell by 0.8%, while kerosene and jet fuel stocks rose by 4.6% and 10.7%, respectively. The drop in gasoil stocks was driven by lower output and imports, while a decrease in domestic sales limited further declines. In contrast, the builds in kerosene and jet fuel oil were driven by lower domestic sales, which declined by around 40% and 20%, respectively.
Total residual fuel oil stocks rose by 0.6 mb in April to stand at 13.8 mb, which was 1.4 mb or 9.4% below a year ago and 2.8 mb or 17.0% lower than the latest five-year average. Within fuel oil components, fuel oil A and fuel oil B.C rose by 4.4% and 4.6%, respectively. This build was mainly driven by lower domestic sales.