US crude oil stocks decreased by 1.1 MMBbl. Gasoline and distillate inventories increased 2.5 MMBbl and 1.5 MMBbl, respectively. Yesterday afternoon, API reported a crude oil build of 4.7 MMBbl alongside gasoline and distillate builds of 5.6 MMBbl and 3.7 MMBbl, respectively. Analysts, to the contrary, were expecting a crude oil draw of 1.29 MMBbl. Total petroleum inventories posted a decrease of 0.9 MMBbl.
US crude oil production remained unchanged last week, per EIA. Crude oil imports were down 0.31 MMBbl/d last week, to an average of 6.6 MMBbl/d. Refinery inputs averaged 16.6 MMBbl/d (35 MBbl/d less than last week’s average).
Prompt WTI headed higher yet again on Tuesday, settling at $60.93/bbl (up $1.06/bbl from Monday’s open). Flat price gains continue to be made on optimism that the US and China will sign a “phase one” trade deal in January after agreeing to suspend planned tariff hikes that were scheduled to take effect on Sunday. A date has not yet been announced for a formal signing, but the deal is expected to reduce or eliminate some tariffs. China also agreed to increase purchases of US farm goods. Details remain murky, but the market is optimistic (for now at least) that this ceasefire in the US-China trade war could lead to a more lasting peace.