Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Crude Oil Steady as Report Shows Higher Crude Supplies, Drop in Fuel Stockpiles

Crude oil futures were little changed after a U.S. government report showed an unexpected decline in supplies of gasoline as crude inventories rose. Gasoline inventories fell 2.81 million barrels to 222.1 million in the week ended May 7, the Energy Department said today in a weekly report. Stockpiles were forecast to increase by 400,000 barrels, according to the median of 18 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Inventories of crude oil rose 1.95 million barrels to 362.5 million, the department said. Supplies were forecast to increase by 1.6 million barrels. Crude oil for June delivery fell 12 cents, to $76.25 a barrel at 10:35 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil traded at $76.53 a barrel before the release of the report at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.

Prices also moved lower as the International Energy Agency cut its estimate of world oil demand this year by 220,000 barrels to 86.4 million barrels a day in a monthly report. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries bolstered oil output by 40,000 barrels a day in April, according to the IEA. Supplies from the 11 members bound by quotas rose to 26.79 million barrels a day, 70,000 barrels a day more than in March. That means the group’s compliance with the record output cuts slipped to 54 percent last month. Iraq has no output target.

OPEC members will need to pump 28.7 million barrels a day to balance global oil demand and supply this year, according to the IEA. That is 400,000 barrels fewer than the Paris based agency estimated last month. Iran, holder of the world’s second largest oil reserves, may be storing as much as 38 million barrels of crude at sea as demand declines for the heavier, sour grades the Persian Gulf country sells, according to the IEA.

Reporter Mark Shenk can be contacted at

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