Supplies increased 1.65 million barrels to 361.1 million last week, the highest since July 1993, the Energy Department said today. Stockpiles were forecast to climb by 1.5 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg News survey. The industry- funded American Petroleum Institute yesterday said stockpiles jumped 6.94 million barrels to the highest since 1990.
Crude oil for May delivery rose 23 cents, or 0.5 percent, to settle at $49.38 a barrel at 2:44 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $47.37, the lowest since April 1, before the Energy Department report was released at 10:30 a.m. in Washington. Prices are up 11 percent this year.
Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, where New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude oil is delivered, fell 878,000 barrels to 29.98 million last week, the lowest since the week ended Dec. 26. Supplies in the week ended Feb. 6 were the highest since at least April 2004, when the Energy Department began keeping records for the location.
Gasoline stockpiles rose 656,000 barrels to 217.4 million in the week ended April 3, according to the department. Distillate fuels, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, fell 3.35 million barrels to 140.8 million.
Gasoline futures for May delivery fell 2.08 cents, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $1.4396 a gallon in New York. Heating oil for May delivery increased 0.79 cent, or 0.6 percent, to end the session at $1.3982 a gallon.
Total daily fuel demand averaged over the past four weeks was 18.9 million barrels, down 4.4 percent from a year earlier, the report showed. It was the lowest consumption for a four-week period since October.
Global oil demand falls to an annual low during the second quarter as refineries shut to perform maintenance after the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Brent crude oil for May settlement increased 37 cents, or 0.7 percent, to end the session at $51.59 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange.
May Brent futures are $2.21 a barrel higher than Nymex West Texas Intermediate oil for the same month, the biggest premium for the front-month.