Preliminary data for February shows that total OECD commercial oil stocks reversed
the build of the previous month and fell seasonally 33.9 mb to 2,655 mb. Despite this
drop, inventories were 8.7 mb above the same period a year ago, although down
8.1 mb from the five-year average.
Within components, both crude and products declined, down 8.4 mb and 25.5 mb
respectively. At 1,277 mb, OECD crude commercial stocks stood at a comfortable level,
with a surplus of 23.6 mb over the same period last year and nearly 25 mb above the
five-year average. In contrast, product stocks remained tight, showing a deficit of
14.9 mb with the previous year and 32.6 mb with the seasonal norm.
Within the OECD regions, the largest drop in commercial inventories in March came
from the Americas, where stocks declined by 23.3 mb. The Asia-Pacific was next with a
fall of 11.3 mb. In contrast, while OECD Europe stocks rose by 0.7 mb.
Despite this draw, OECD Americas stocks remained at healthy levels, up 18.9 mb from
the previous February and 54.1 higher than the seasonal norm. The surplus was mainly
driven by crude stocks, which were 37.4 mb above the same time a year ago and nearly
68 mb above the five-year average. The comfortable level of US commercial crude
stocks came on the back of higher domestic crude supply combined with seasonal
In contrast with the healthy level of crude stocks, product inventories remained tight,
indicating a deficit of 18.5 mb with a year ago and 78 mb with the seasonal average.
Most of the shortfall can be observed in middle distillates, which were absorbed by the
increase in exports to Latin America. In February, middle distillates were 17 mb below
the seasonal norm, while gasoline stocks started to improve, remaining in line with the
OECD Europe inventories rose for the second consecutive month, ending February at
919 mb. However, despite this improvement, they still showed a deficit of 57.3 mb with
the five-year average and of around 14.7 mb with than the same period the year before.
The deficit with the previous year was concentrated on products, which were down by
16.3 mb, while crude was up by 1.7 mb. The deficit with the seasonal average is
attributed to both crude and products, which were 23 mb and 35 mb lower respectively.
The pattern for the coming months could see a similar trend, with crude rising and
products falling, since refinery maintenance should keep product stocks lower.
Commercial inventories in the Asia-Pacific in February reversed the build of the
previous month and declined by a considerable 11.3 mb to end at 391 mb. At this level,
inventories were 4.6 mb above the same period a year ago and 4.8 mb below the fiveyear
average. The total drop came from crude, which declined by 13.0 mb, while
product stocks increased by 1.7 mb. The surplus with last year is attributed mainly to
products gaining 20.0 mb, while crude showed a deficit of 15.4 mb. Crude also had a
deficit of 14.8 mb with the five-year average, while products were 10.0 mb above the
Although OECD commercial stocks fell sharply in February, days of forward cover
rose on the expectation of lower demand in the coming months. Indeed, in terms of
forward cover, the stock level stood at nearly 59.2 days, around half a day more than in
the previous month and 1.2 days above the same period the year before. Compared
with the seasonal average, inventories showed a gain of 1.7 days. Despite the lower
absolute level of OECD Europe commercial stocks, days of forward cover stood at
around 70 days, reflecting the regionís weak demand.
EU plus Norway
The latest available data for February shows that European stocks rose for the second
consecutive month, up 0.8 mb, to stand at 1,049.1 mb. Despite this build, stocks ended
the month 24.4 mb or 2.3% below the same time last year and 76.2 mb or 6.8% below
the five-year average. The total stock-build came from crude, which rose by 0.9 mb,
while products decreased by 0.2 mb.
European crude inventories rose in February, finishing the month at 452.2 mb. This
represents a gain of 8.0 mb or 1.8% above the year before, although still 18.1 mb or
3.8% below the latest five-year average. The build in crude oil stocks came on higher
North Sea production, which was boosted by higher output from Nexenís Buzzard field.
The rise in refinery runs limited a further build in crude oil stocks. In fact, refinery
throughputs increased by around 400,000 b/d from the previous month to reach
10.7 mb/d, but remained at almost the same level as a year ago. European refinery
runs stood at just under 85% or about 4.0 percentage points (pp) above the same time
a year ago.
Product stocks in Europe fell slightly in February, reversing the build of the last month
and ending the month at 596.9 mb. This level represented a deficit of 32.4 mb or 5.2 %
with the same period last year and constituted a shortfall of 58.1 mb or 8.9% with the
five-year average. Within products, the picture was mixed: Distillates and residual fuel
oil saw builds, while gasoline and naphtha witnessed draws.
Distillate stocks rose by 2.3 mb, which was the third monthly build in a row, finishing
February at 375.0 mb. This meant that they were still 13.5 mb or 3.5% lower than a year
ago and 15.2 mb or 3.9% below the seasonal average. The build reflected mainly weak
regional demand, as mild weather capped the increase in heating oil demand. Residual
fuel oil stocks also rose mb in February, by 0.4 mb, reversing the stock-draw of the last
three months and reaching 83.5 mb. Thus they were 9.4 mb or 10.1% lower than the
year before and 23.5 mb or 22.0% below the seasonal average. Higher refinery output
was behind the increase, but a rise of exports to the Asia-Pacific and to the US limited a
further build in inventories.
Gasoline stocks fell by 2.4 mb after two consecutive months of build, finishing February
at 109.8 mb. At this level, they were 2.3 mb or 2.1% lower than the year before and
14.5 mb or 11.7% below the seasonal average. Higher gasoline imports to the US, at a
time of seasonal maintenance, led to more drops in gasoline inventories. Naphtha
stocks saw a decline of 0.4 mb to end February at 28.6 mb, leaving them 7.2 mb or
20% below the same period last year and 4.9 mb or 14.6% lower than the five-year
In March, US total commercial oil stocks continued their downward trend for the
second consecutive month, declining by 9.1 mb to 1,077.3 mb. Despite this stock-draw,
they were 32.9 mb or 3.2% above the five-year average, although they were in line with
the same time a year ago. The draw was attributed to products, which fell by 16.3 mb,
while crude increased by 7.3 mb.
US commercial crude stocks rose for the third consecutive month in March,
accumulating a more-than 23 mb build since the beginning of this year. At 388.6 mb,
they finished the month at the highest level since July 1990, showing a surplus of
20.6 mb or 5.6% with a year ago and 35.1 mb or 9.9% with the five-year average.
The build came from higher imports, which increased by around 100,000 b/d to average
7.7 mb/d; however, this level was very low compared with the same period last year,
when crude imports reached nearly 9.0 mb/d. A continued increase in domestic
production, remaining above 7.0 mb/d, also contributed to the build in US commercial
crude stocks. Increased refinery inputs in March limited a further build. Indeed, US
crude oil refinery inputs rose by almost 250,000 b/d to average 14.6 mb/d, slightly
higher than the same period last year. In March, US refineries operated at around
84.1%, which was 0.6 pp higher than in February and 0.3 pp more than the same time
In contrast to the increase in national crude oil stocks, inventories in Cushing declined
by 1.7 mb in March to end the month at 49.2 mb, while leaving the stock overhang
some 22% above last yearís level. An improved pipeline infrastructure in West Texas
should continue to relieve some pressure on Cushing inventories.
Total product stocks dropped in March for the third consecutive month, ending at
688.7 mb. With this draw, product inventories widened the deficit with a year ago to
25.2 mb from 17.1 mb a month earlier. All products saw a drop, with gasoline and
distillates experiencing the largest declines.
Gasoline stocks fell for the second consecutive month, by 7.2 mb, ending March at
220.7 mb. Despite this draw, they were 1.9 mb or 0.9% above the year-ago level 1.3 mb
or 0.6% higher than the seasonal average. The decline was driven mainly by lower
gasoline production, which declined by around 90,000 b/d to average 8.8 mb/d, since
demand remained almost at the same level as in the previous month.
Distillate stocks also saw a drop of 7.4 mb in March, to end at 113.0 mb. With this
stock-draw, they were 20.8 mb or 15.6% below the year-ago level and 23.3 mb or
17.1% lower than the seasonal norm. Higher exports, mainly to Latin America, were
behind the distillate stock-draw, as production and demand remained almost
unchanged from the previous month.
Residual fuel oil stocks declined by 1.6 mb to finish March at 35.8 mb. This meant that
they were 0.5 mb or 1.3% lower than a year ago, with a deficit of 2.6 mb or 6.8% on the
seasonal norm. Jet fuel stocks also fell in March, by 0.3 mb, to stand at 39.4 mb. At this
level, they were 0.3 mb or 0.8% higher than the same month a year ago, although still
1.1 mb or 2.8% below the latest five-year average.
In February, total commercial oil stocks in Japan reversed the build of the last month
and declined by a considerable 11.3 mb to end at 155.9 mb. At this level, they were
1.8 mb or 1.2% below the same period a year ago and 8.3 mb or 5.1% below the last
five-year average. The total drop came from crude, which declined by 13.0 mb, while
product stocks increased by 1.7 mb.
Japanese commercial crude oil stocks declined in February, reversing the build in
January and ending the month at 86.2 mb. This meant that they were 6.1 mb below the
same time a year ago and 8.8 mb lower than the seasonal average. The fall was driven
by a decline in crude oil imports, which decreased by around 500,000 b/d or 12.4% from
the previous month to average 3.6 mb/d; this represented a deficit of 10.8% compared
with the same time the previous year. In addition, crude stocks decreased due to an
increase in crude throughput, which rose by around 100,000 b/d or 2.7% to average
3.5 mb/d. At this level, they were 2.7% lower than in the same month a year earlier.
Japanese refineries were running at 84.5%, around 1.6 pp higher than in the previous
month and 3.4 pp above the same period last year.
Direct crude burning in power plants declined in February by 7.1% to end at around
261,960 b/d, 30.2% lower than the same period last year. Given that the weather in
February was warmer, the fall in direct crude burning reflected mainly the impact of
energy conservation and substitution in the country.
On the product side, the build in Japanís total product inventories continued for a
second month, ending February at 69.7 mb. This meant a surplus of 4.2 mb or 6.5%
with a year ago and of 0.4 mb or 0.6% with the five-year average. The stock-build in
total products came as total oil product imports rose by 3.4% in February from a month
earlier. Lower exports also contributed to the build. However, higher domestic sales
limited a further build. Indeed, domestic sales in Japan rose by 3.4% in February from
the previous month to average 3.9 mb/d, but they were down by 7.0% from the same
month a year ago.
Within products, all items experienced builds in February. Gasoline stocks rose by
0.4 mb to end February at 13.6 mb. At this level, they were 0.6 mb or 4.8% higher than
a year ago, but still 0.4 mb or 2.7% below the five-year average. The build came on the
back of a 3.7% decline in gasoline sales.
Distillate stocks also rose, by 0.2 mb, to end the month at 29.2 mb, leaving them at a
surplus of 3.1 mb or 11.9% with a year ago and of 0.8 mb or 3.0 % with the seasonal
average. Within the distillate components, jet fuel and gasoil went up, while kerosene
fell. Jet fuel stocks rose by 8.5% due to a decline of nearly 15% in domestic sales
consumption. Gasoil stocks also increased, by 4.4%, after a 3.9% rise in output. In
contrast, kerosene stocks fell by 5.1%, reflecting lower output outpacing a decline in
Total residual fuel oil stocks rose by 0.6 mb to end February at 16.9 mb. This meant
they were 6.4% above a year ago and 4.6% higher than the five-year average. Fuel oil
A went down by 9.2%, while fuel oil B.C rose by almost 8%. The decline in fuel A stocks
could be attributed to an 8.2% fall in production. Fuel oil B.C stocks saw a build, driven
by the decline in sales of nearly 10%. Higher imports also supported the build in fuel oil
B.C stocks. Naphtha inventories saw a build of 0.5 mb, ending February at 10.1 mb.
Despite this build, they remained 5.0% below than a year ago and 7.2% lower than the
five-year average. The build came from lower domestic sales, which declined by 10.1%;
however, lower production limited a further build.
Singapore and Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA)
At the end of February, product stocks in Singapore fell by 0.7 mb, reversing the
build of last month and ending at 42.3 mb. This stock-draw indicated a deficit of 2.3 mb
or 5.1% with a year ago. Within products, fuel oil stocks saw a build, while middle
distillate and light distillates witnessed draws.
Residual fuel oil rose for the second consecutive month, by 0.9 mb, ending February at
21.6 mb. Despite this build, they showed a deficit of 0.2 mb or 1.0% with the same time
a year ago. This stock-build was mainly due to higher imports from the west. Higher
imports from the Middle East and India also contributed.
Middle distillate stocks fell by 1.3 mb in February, reversing the build of the last month
and ending the month at 10.2 mb. This draw meant a deficit of 0.9 mb or 8.2% with the
same period a year ago. The fall in middle distillate stocks was attributed to higher
exports amid stronger demand in Indonesia. Higher diesel imports from some middle
distillate countries also contributed to drawing stocks from Singapore. Light distillate
stocks fell, by 0.3 mb, after experiencing builds for the last three months, and ended
February at 10.5 mb, leaving them 1.2 mb or 9.9% below the same period last year.
This stock-draw came mainly from higher exports outpacing imports to Singapore.
Product stocks in ARA fell by 2.1 mb in February, reversing the builds of the last two
months to stand at 30.4 mb. This meant that they were 3.8 mb or 11.0% lower than the
same time last year. Within products, the picture was mixed. Gasoline, fuel oil and jet
fuel experienced drops, while gasoil witnessed a build. Naphtha remained unchanged.
Gasoline fell by 1.0 mb, reversing the builds of the last two months and ending February
at 5.2 mb. This saw them at the same level as this time last year. The stock-draw came
from lower levels of arrival to the ARA hub, outpacing departures towards the US,
Argentina and Mexico. Refineries pumped more gasoline to take advantage of strong
overseas demand. Fuel oil stocks also fell, by 0.9 mb, reversing the builds of the last
two months and ending February at 4.6 mb, which was 0.1 mb or 1.7% lower than the
same period a year ago. Jet fuel stocks also saw a drop of 0.2 mb and ended February
at 2.3 mb, which was almost 50% lower than the same level last year.
Gasoil stocks saw a minor build of 0.1 mb in February, after increasing by more than
3 mb in January. At 17.5 mb, ARA gasoline stocks were at their highest level since April
2012, although still 1.3 mb or 6.8% lower than the same period a year ago. In February,
naphtha stocks remained unchanged from the previous month, ending at 0.8 mb and
showing a deficit of almost 17% from the same time last year.