Crude oil and gasoline prices climb, while increased supply indicate price stabilization

A jump in imports fed a large 4.8 MM barrel build in oil stocks during the January 21 week. Refineries are operating at over 80% capacity as we are seeing price increases both for crude and for retail gasoline which have continued their upward climb to $93.48 per barrel and $3.11 per gallon respectively. 

Having said that, data may show respite for consumers as their is has been a buildup in gasoline stocks, up 2.4 MM barrels to 230.1 MM, and a fractional downtick for distillates to 165.7 MM to end four straight weeks of prior builds. Demand data are weak showing a fourth straight decline in the four-week average for gasoline, down to 8.8 MM barrels per day for a soft plus 1.1% YOY rate. Distillate demand, at minus 0.6 percent, shows its first year-on-year decline since April.

So your wallet which has been feeling rather poor when you go to the petrol station, at least won't be surprised in the next few weeks.  Heavy supply and light demand will likely limit continuing price gains at the pump. Via EIA:

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.1 MM barrels per day during the week ending January 21, 212 thousand barrels per day below the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 81.8% of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production decreased last week, averaging 8.8 MM barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.3 MM barrels per day. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.4 MM barrels per day last week, up by 386 thousand barrels per day from the previous week.

...The average world crude oil price on January 21, 2011 was $93.48 per barrel, $0.88 more than last week’s price and $18.22 above a year ago. WTI was $88.22 per barrel on January 21, 2011, $3.31 less than last week’s price but $13.97 above a year ago. The spot price for conventional gasoline in the New York Harbor was $2.465 per gallon, $0.039 less than last week’s price but $0.505 above last year. The spot price for No. 2 heating oil in the New York Harbor was $2.651 per gallon, $0.014 more than last week’s price and $0.734 above a year ago.

The national average retail regular gasoline price increased for the eighth week in a row to $3.110 per gallon on January 24, 2011, $0.006 per gallon more than last week and $0.405 above a year ago. The national average retail diesel fuel price increased for the eighth week in a row to $3.430 per gallon, $0.023 per gallon above last week and $0.597 over a year ago.

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