March Crude Oil closed down 0.19 at 53.01. This was 0.28 up from the low and 0.50 off the high.
March Heating Oil closed down 0.81 at 163.01. This was 1.00 up from the low and 1.66 off the high.
March RBOB Gasoline finished up 0.22 at 154.89, 1.14 off the high and 1.41 up from the low.
March Natural Gas finished up 0.03 at 2.93, 0.06 off the high and 0.02 up from the low.
On one hand, one could suggest that today’s crude oil inventory builds were not as bad as some dire predictions. However the two month and six week cumulative gain in crude oil stocks should be burdensome to prices going forward. Fortunately, the net changes in product supplies were largely insignificant and for some they were slightly supportive. In addition to slack US industrial production in capacity utilization it is also possible that an expanding bird flu problem in China could dent energy demand expectations in that region. Another takeaway from today’s action is additional but modest damage on the charts. Crude stocks at 518.119 million barrels is the highest ever for this week. EIA crude stocks rose 9.527 million barrels and are 45.296 million barrels above year ago levels. Also, crude stocks stand 146.444 million barrels above the five year average. Crude oil imports for the week stood at 8.491 million barrels per day compared to 9.372 million barrels the previous week. The refinery operating rate was 85.40% down, 2.30% from last week compared to 88.30% last year and the five year average of 86.44%.