In Japan, total commercial oil stocks fell by 9.7 mb for the fifth consecutive month in February. At 147.3 mb, Japanese commercial oil inventories stood at 2 mb, or 1.4%, above the same time a year ago, but 6.3 mb, or 4.1%, below the five-year average. Within the components, crude and products dropped by 4.2 mb and 5.5 mb, respectively.
In February, Japanese commercial crude oil stocks fell to end the month at 87 mb, which was 2.6 mb, or 3.1%, above a the same time a year ago, but 1.7 mb, or 2%, below the seasonal norm. The fall in crude stocks came despite an increase in crude oil imports. Indeed, February crude oil imports rose by around 60,000 b/d, or 1.8%, to stand at 3.5 mb/d. Japanese refineries were running at 88.4%, down by around 1 pp from the previous month. This corresponds to a crude throughput of 3.5 mb/d.
Japan’s total product inventories also fell by 5.5 mb in February to end the month at 60.3 mb. At this level, product stocks stood at 0.6 mb, or 0.9%, below the same time a year ago, and showed a deficit of 6.3 mb, or 4.1%, with the five-year average. The fall was driven mainly by higher product sales, which increased by more than 150,000 b/d, or 4.6% versus the previous month, to stand at 3.5 mb/d. However, Japanese total oil sales were 5.1% below the same month last year. Within products, the picture was mixed; gasoline, distillates and residual fuel oil experienced draws, while naphtha witnessed a build.
Gasoline stocks fell by 0.5 mb to end February at 10.9 mb. At this level, they indicated a deficit of 0.3 mb, or 3.1%, compared to the same time a year ago, and 2.1 mb, or 16.4%, below the latest five-year average. This fall in gasoline stocks was mainly driven by lower gasoline output, which declined by 1.8% in February. Lower gasoline demand limited further declines in gasoline stocks.
Distillate stocks fell by 5.7 mb in February to stand at 23.9 mb. At this level, distillate stocks were 1.5 mb, or 6%, below the same period a year ago and 2.9 mb, or 10.7%, less than the seasonal average. Within distillate components, jet fuel, kerosene and gasoil inventories fell by 1.7%, 30% and 11.7%, respectively. The fall in distillate component stocks was driven by lower production, combined with higher domestic demand.
Total residual fuel oil stocks fell by 1.1 mb in February to stand at 12.9 mb. This was 0.6 mb, or 4.4%, below a year ago and 1.8 mb, or 11.9%, lower than the latest five-year average. Within the fuel oil components, fuel oil A and fuel oil B.C fell by 9.1% and 6.9%, respectively. The fall in fuel oil was driven by higher domestic sales, which increased by 9.3% in the case of fuel oil A and by 1.6% for fuel oil B.C.
In contrast, naphtha inventories rose by 1.7 mb in February to stand at 1.7 mb. This was 1.9 mb, or 17.9%, higher than the same time a year ago, but 2.2 mb, or 21.1%, less than the seasonal norm. This build was driven mainly by lower domestic sales, which declined by 13.5%.