Crude oil inventories in the United States shed 8 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported a day after the American Petroleum Institute estimated an 8-million-barrel draw that pushed oil prices higher.

At 484.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories remain above the five-year average for this time of the year when demand tends to be weaker. Yet the resurgence in coronavirus cases in the country will likely lead to a further weakening of oil demand, driving builds in inventories.

The EIA also reported a 1.5-million-barrel build in gasoline inventories for the week to October 30, compared with a decline of 900,000 barrels for the previous week.

Gasoline production averaged 9.1 million bpd last week, slightly down on the previous week.

In distillate fuels, the EIA reported an inventory decline of 1.6 million barrels for the week to October 30, which compared with a draw of 4.5 million barrels reported for the previous week. That was the second weekly draw in distillate fuel inventories, to the total tune of 8.3 million barrels.

Distillate fuel stocks have been a problem for U.S. refiners as well as refiners elsewhere, as the slump in air travels has left them will a lot of excessive inventories.

Distillate fuel production averaged 4.3 million bpd last week, slightly up on the week.

Refineries last week processed 13.6 million bpd of crude oil, operating at 75.3 percent of capacity. This compared with 13.4 million bpd a week earlier, operating at 74.6 percent of capacity.

Besides the brief respite oil prices got from the API report yesterday, the benchmarks have been on the decline again as new lockdowns in France, Germany, and the UK came into force while Covid-19 cases in the United States continued to rise at a fast pace, threatening to overwhelm some states’ healthcare systems.

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Meanwhile, Tuesday’s election has had a mixed effect on oil prices so far as both a Biden and a Trump presidency have their pros and cons for the energy industry and the outlook for oil.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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