Oil futures prices were in retreat on Wednesday as government data showed a fifth consecutive week of growth in US stockpiles of the hydrocarbon commodity while motor gasoline inventories also showed an increase.
Inventories of crude oil rose by 1.6 million barrels to 452 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 22, according to data published by the Energy Information Administration. The EIA’s data showed that US stockpiles of crude oil are now about 3% above the five-year average for this time of year.
The weekly gain followed a jump of 1.4 million barrels in the prior period, and was the fifth straight week of gains since inventories fell by 1.7 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 18.
West Texas Intermediate crude, the main US oil gauge, was down by 0.7% to $57.96 a barrel while Brent, the international benchmark, was 0.5% lower at $62.91 a barrel.
US crude oil imports averaged 6.2 million barrels per day last week, up by 217,000 barrels per day from the previous week, the government data showed. Over the past four weeks, crude oil imports averaged about six million barrels per day, about 22% less than the same four-week period last year.
Total motor gasoline imports averaged 773,000 barrels per day last week while distillate fuel imports averaged 238,000 barrels per day.
Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 5.1 million barrels and were about 4% above the five-year average. Finished gasoline and blending components inventories both increased while distillate fuel inventories jumped by 0.7 million barrels and were about 12% below the five-year average for this time of year.