Preliminary data for April shows that US total commercial oil stocks rose by 19.9 mb, reversing the drop of the last two months to end the month at 1,096.2 mb. With this build, the inventories widened the surplus with last year at the same time to 14.9 mb and stood at a comfortable level, indicating a gain of 42 mb or 4.0% over the five-year average. The stock-build was attributed to both products and crude as they increased by 12.2 mb and 6.7 mb, respectively.
US commercial crude stocks rose in April for the fourth consecutive month, accumulating a more than 30.0 mb build since the beginning of this year. At 395.3 mb, crude oil commercial stocks finished the month at the highest level since the EIA began collecting data in 1982. At this level, they are 18.4 mb or 4.9% above a year ago and 35.8 mb or 9.9% higher than the five-year average.
The total of the build in US crude stocks came during the week ending 26 April driven by the jump in crude oil imports versus the previous week, which increased by more than 600,000 b/d to reach 8.1 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 April have limited further builds in crude stocks. Indeed, US crude oil refinery inputs rose by almost 250,000 b/d to average 14.8 mb/d, around 350,000 b/d higher than the same period last year. In April, US refineries operated at around 85.2%, which was 1.1 pp higher than March and 0.4 pp more than last year at the same time.
In contrast to the increase in national crude oil stocks, inventories in Cushing showed a decline of 1.4 mb during the week ending 26 April from the previous week to end the month at 49.8 mb, but leaving the stock overhang some 20% above last year’s level.
Total product stocks saw a build in April, reversing the drop of the last three months, and ended the month at 700.9 mb. With this build, product inventories narrowed the deficit with a year ago to 3.5 mb from 25.2 mb a month earlier. This build also helped to switch the deficit with the five-year average in the previous month to a surplus of 0.9%. With the exception of gasoline, all other products saw a build, with the bulk of the increase coming from unfinished products, distillates and residual fuel oil.
Gasoline stocks fell by 4.7 mb for the third consecutive month to end April at 216.0 mb. Despite this draw, gasoline stocks stood at 5.5 mb or 2.6% above a year ago, and 4.7 mb or 2.2% higher than the seasonal average. The decline in gasoline stocks was driven mainly by relatively higher gasoline demand as output remained almost unchanged. The slight decrease in gasoline imports also contributed to the stock-draw.
Distillate stocks rose by 2.8 mb, reversing the drop of last three months and ending the month of April at 115.8 mb. Despite this stock-build, distillate stocks remained at 8.8 mb or 7.1% below the year-ago level and 18.1 mb or 13.5% lower than the seasonal norm. Higher imports were behind the build in distillate stocks as domestic production and demand offset each other. Indeed, the four weekly averages of April show that distillate demand fell by around 100,000 b/d, while output increased by almost the same amount.
Residual fuel oil stocks rose by 2.7 mb to finish the month of April at 38.5 mb. At this level, they were 4.1 mb or 12.0% higher than a year ago, and indicated a slight surplus of 0.3 mb or 0.8% over the seasonal norm. Jet fuel stocks also increased by 0.5 mb in April to stand at 40.0 mb, but were still 0.4 mb or 0.9% lower than the same month a year ago, and 1.2 mb or 3.0% below the latest five-year average.