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Oil Trading Weekly DOE Stats 13 Nov 2009

Until the WTI stops being the benchmark for the oil market oil traders will have to continue to study the weekly crude oil inventories which yesterday came in uber bearish with almost 1.8m barrels added to the crude oil stockpile.  This compared with an average estimate of a 200k barrel increase.  The API data had reported on Tuesday that inventories had risen by 1.2m.

Meanwhile refining capacity fell by 0.7% to 79.9% against a forecast of a 0.3% increase.  This is the lowest level of weekly refining utilization ever seen in more than 20 years, barring outages during the 2002, 2005 & 2008 hurricane seasons.  The crude and petroleum product inventories have been running unusually high all year given the dramatic slump in demand.  Refining margins have been crushed on low demand for both gasoline and distillates even as oil prices have rallied more than 70% this year.  Refiners have been trying to cut capacity in an effort to deplete the stock of refined products.

Stocks of distillates increased by 349k barrels to 167.73 barrels comparied with the analysts’ forecast of a 400k drop.  Meanwhile stocks of gasoline rose by 2.56m barrels to 210.84 barrels whereas analysts had expected this number to remain unchanged.

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