By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com — U.S. crude stockpiles had their second straight weekly decline last week, petroleum trade group API said in a report Tuesday that was expected to be matched somewhat by forthcoming government data.
U.S. crude inventories potentially fell by 4.346 million barrels during the week ended March 31, the API, which stands for the American Petroleum Institute, said.
In the prior week to March 24, the API reported a 3.835M-barrel decline, after 10 weeks of builds that officially added some 60M barrels to U.S. crude inventories.
Aside from the absolute inventory in crude, the API cited a 1.035M barrel deficit at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery point for U.S. crude.
The API inventory report also showed declines in major fuel products gasoline and distillates. There was a 3.97M-barrel drop in gasoline stocks for last week and a 3.693M-barrel gain in distillate stockpiles.
The API numbers serve as a precursor to official inventory data on the same due from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, on Wednesday.
For the week ended March 31, analysts tracked by Investing.com expect the EIA to report a crude stockpile drop of 2.329 million barrels, to add to the 7.489M barrel slump during the previous week to March 24.
On the gasoline inventory front, the consensus is for a draw of 1.729M barrels to add to the 2.904M barrel decline in the previous week. Automotive fuel gasoline is the No. 1 U.S. fuel product.
With distillate stockpiles, the expectation is for a drop of 0.396M barrels versus the prior week’s gain of 0.281M. Distillates, which are refined into heating oil, diesel for trucks, buses, trains, and ships, and fuel for jets, used to be the strongest demand component of the U.S. petroleum complex just months ago.