In Japan, total commercial oil stocks rose by 6.3 mb in October for the third consecutive month. At 179.3 mb, Japanese commercial oil inventories are 19.6 mb or 12.3% higher than a year ago, and 8.0 mb or 4.7% above the five-year average. Within the components, crude stocks rose by 8.1 mb, while product stocks fell by 1.8 mb. Japanese commercial crude oil stocks rose in October to stand at 106.3 mb, the highest level since June 2012. With this build, they were 17.2 mb or 19.4% above a year ago at the same time and 11.7 mb or 12.4% above the seasonal norm. The build was driven by lower crude runs, which fell by around 270 tb/d or 8.2% to average 3.0 mb/d and remained 1.6% lower than the previous year at the same time. Lower crude oil imports limited a further build in crude oil stocks. Indeed, crude oil imports fell by around 30,000 b/d or 0.9% to average 3.3 mb/d, but were up 3.9% over the same period a year ago. Direct crude burning in power plants rose by more than double in October compared with the previous month, averaging 85.4 tb/d but still showing a decline of 56% over the same period a year ago.
In contrast, Japan’s total product inventories fell by 1.8 mb in October, reversing the build of the last three months, to stand at 73.0 mb. At this level, product stocks were 2.3 mb or 3.3% above the same time a year ago but still showed a deficit of 3.7 mb or 4.9% from the five-year average. The build was driven by higher domestic sales, which rose by 160,000 b/d or 5.6% to average around 3.0 mb/d in October, a decline of 2.5% compared to a year ago at the same time. Lower oil product imports also contributed to the fall in Japanese product stocks. Oil imports fell by about 60,000 b/d, ending the month of October at 507 tb/d. Within products, the picture was mixed. Gasoline and distillates saw builds, while residual fuel oil and naphtha witnessed draws. Gasoline stocks rose by 0.3 mb in October to stand at 10.6 mb, which is 1.1 mb or 9.4% less than at the same time the previous year and 2.4 mb or 18.2% below the fiveyear average. Higher refinery output, combined with lower domestic sales, resulted in the drop in gasoline stocks. Lower gasoline imports limited a further build in gasoline stocks.
Distillate stocks rose slightly by 0.1 mb in October to stand at 35.1 mb, which was 1.0 mb or 3.1% above the same period a year ago and 1.1 mb or 3.0% lower than the seasonal average. Within distillate components, kerosene experienced a build, while jet fuel and gasoil saw stock draws. Kerosene inventories rose by 10.7% on the back of higher output, which increased by 8.5% from the previous month. In contrast, gasoil and jet fuel fell by 5.1% and 12.7%, respectively. Higher domestic sales combined with lower output resulted in the decline. The stock draw in jet fuel was attributed to lower production as the fall in domestic sales limited a further decline in jet fuel inventories. Total residual fuel oil stocks fell by 1.7 mb in October to stand at 15.4 mb, which was 0.7 mb or 4.6% above a year ago and 0.5 mb or 2.8% lower than the latest five-year average. Within fuel oil components, fuel oil A rose slightly by 0.1%, while fuel oil B.C stocks fell by 13.8%. The build in fuel oil A was driven by higher output, while higher consumption pushed fuel oil B.C stocks lower. Naphtha stocks fell by 0.6 mb to finish the month of October at 11.5 mb, a surplus of 1.7 mb or 17.6% compared to a year ago at the same time and 0.2 mb or 1.7% higher than the seasonal norm. The stock draw came mainly from higher domestic sales, which increased by 25.8% in October from the previous month.