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Platts Survey

Analysts expect US commercial crude oil inventories to show a 1.5 million barrel build when the Energy Information Administration, EIA, and American Petroleum Institute, API release weekly data on Wednesday, a Platts survey indicated Tuesday

Platts Survey

Analysts expect US commercial crude oil inventories to show a 1.5 million barrel build when the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and American Petroleum Institute (API) release weekly data on Wednesday, a Platts survey indicated Tuesday. The EIA/API data is scheduled to be reported Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. ET/15:30 GMT.

Imports are expected to rebound from last week's unexpectedly weak level of 8.9 million barrels per day (b/d), reaching at least 9.5 million b/d amid fewer closures in the Houston, Sabine and Corpus Christi Ship Channels due to fog.

In addition, any stock build could be tempered by an increase in crude throughputs as refiners exit maintenance. Survey participants say refinery utilization rates are likely to jump 0.9 percentage points to 83.9%.

Inventories of gasoline are expected to decline by two million barrels, which would be the fifth consecutive weekly drop. "Gasoline stocks will likely post another significant draw as we expect production to level at around 8.9 million b/d while imports probably slipped back to below the 900,000 b/d pace of the past few weeks," energy consultant Jim Ritterbusch said in a report. A seasonal uptick in demand is seen weighing on inventory levels. "We look for demand to increase back to about the 9.3 million b/d area," Ritterbusch added.

Implied gasoline demand typically starts to increase at this time of year, but high prices at the pump and a slowing US economy appear to have dented the pace of demand growth.

Analysts also project a 1.7 million barrel drop in middle distillate stocks, in line with historical norms for this time of year.

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