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US Stock Movements - April 2016

Source: OPEC 4/26/2016, Location: North America

Preliminary March data shows that total US commercial oil stocks rose by 10.7 mb to stand at 1,357 mb. At this level, they were 140 mb, or 11.5%, above the same period a year ago and 257 mb, or 23.3%, higher than the latest five-year average. Within the components, crude rose by 11.9 mb, while products fell by 1.2 mb.

US commercial crude stocks rose for the third consecutive month in March to stand at 530 mb. Over last two months, US commercial crude stocks have accumulated nearly 49 mb, to stand at 55 mb, or 11.6%, above the same time one year ago and 132 mb, or 33.3%, above the latest five-year average. The total build in March came during the first four weeks of the month, while the final week witnessed a stock draw of 4.9 mb. This was the first week-on-week draw in two months. This fall was driven by lower crude oil imports, which declined by nearly 0.5 mb/d to average 7.3 mb/d. This was because of the closure of the Houston ship channel due an oil spill, as well as bad weather. Higher crude runs also contributed to the drop in crude oil stocks. Indeed, during the week-ending of March, crude runs rose by 200,000 b/d to reach 16.4 mb/d.

This corresponds to a refinery utilization rate of 91.4%, or around 1.0 percentage point (pp) higher than the previous week. In March, crude commercial inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, stood at 66.3 mb, almost the same level as the previous month. On a weekly basis, however, Cushing inventories rose by 0.4 mb in the last week of March, compared to the previous week.

In contrast, total product stocks fell by 1.2 mb in March to stand at 827.1 mb. Despite this stock draw, US product stocks were around 85 mb, or 11.4 %, above the level the same time a year ago, and showed a surplus of 124 mb, or 16.8%, above the seasonal norm. Within products, the picture was mixed. All major products saw stock-draws, while jet fuel, other unfinished products and propylene saw builds.

Gasoline stocks fell by 11 mb in March to stand at 244 mb, although they are still 12.5 mb, or 5.4%, higher than the same period a year ago, and 21.9 mb, or 9.9%, above the latest five-year average. The drop in gasoline stocks came mainly from stronger demand for the product at this time of the year, to average 9.4 mb/d.

Distillate stocks also fell by 0.6 mb in March to end the month at 163 mb. At this level, they indicated a surplus of 34.7 mb, or 27%, compared to the same period a year ago, and 34.1 mb, or 26.4%, above the latest five-year average. The fall in middle distillate stocks was mainly driven by higher demand, which increased by around 100,000 b/d to stand at nearly 3.6 mb/d.

Residual fuel oil inventories fell by 2.6 mb to 44.2 mb, which was 6.1 mb, or 16%, higher than the same time the previous year and 7.2 mb, or 19.3%, above the seasonal norm. In contrast, jet fuel stocks rose by 2.2 mb to end March at 44.6 mb. At this level, jet fuel stocks stood 7.4 mb, or 20%, higher than the same month a year ago, and 6.2 mb, or 16%, higher than the latest five-year average.

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