By Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi
Oil prices remained strong last week. Wednesday’s opening West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price of $52.68 per barrel (/b) was the highest opening price of the year. In fact, WTI prices have opened above $52/b only eight times so far this year, and all have been in December.
WTI crude prices opened at $52.68/b this morning, a 1.0% increase from Monday’s opening of $52.15/b. Prices surged above $53/b on Wednesday in response to American Petroleum Institute (API) data showing a large drawdown of crude oil inventories—4.15 million barrels (mmbbls), when the market forecast had been for a draw of 2.5 mmbbls. But the gains reversed when official EIA data was released later. The EIA data instead showed a crude stock build of 2.256 mmbbls.
WTI prices ranged from a low of $51.51 on Monday to a high $53.79/b on Wednesday, a range of $2.28. Prices are weakening slightly this morning, but trading is light before the holiday weekend, and it looks like WTI will end the week above $52/b
Distillate prices opened Monday at $1.6763/gallon. They opened this morning at $1.6584/gallon, a decrease of -1.1% (1.79 cents). Prices ranged from a low of $1.6244/gallon on Thursday to a high of $1.6872/gallon on Monday, a range of 6.28 cents.
Gasoline RBOB prices opened Monday at $1.5601/gallon. Today’s opening price of $1.5993/gallon was an increase of 2.5%, or 3.92 cents, for the week. Prices ranged from a low of $1.5517/gallon on Monday to a high of $1.6133/gallon on Wednesday, a range of 6.16 cents.