2012 Economic Calendar
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EIA Petroleum Status Report  
Released On 3/28/2012 10:30:00 AM For wk3/23, 2012
Crude oil inventories (weekly change)-1.2 M barrels7.1 M barrels
Gasoline (weekly change)-1.2 M barrels-3.5 M barrels
Distillates (weekly change)1.8 M barrels-0.7 M barrels

A surge in weekly imports fed a giant 7.1 million barrel build in oil during the March 23 week to 353.4 million barrels. The weekly build is the largest since July 2010 with the level the highest since August. Oil imports surged to 9.3 million barrels per day vs an unusually lower 8.2 million in the prior week.

The new supply isn't likely to be burned off quickly judging by how light demand is at the wholesale level. At minus 6.1 percent year-on-year, gasoline supplied to wholesalers remains near recovery lows. Distillate demand, down 8.6 percent, is at a more than two-year low. Demand aside, inventories of gasoline and distillates have been falling for nearly two months which points to the need for rebuilding. Oil prices are recovering following a small dip in initial reaction to the report.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) provides weekly information on petroleum inventories in the U.S., whether produced here or abroad. The level of inventories helps determine prices for petroleum products.  Why Investors Care
As is evident from the chart, crude oil stocks can fluctuate dramatically over the year. When oil prices nearly reached $50 per barrel in August 2004, financial market players began to monitor crude oil inventories. It is not surprising to see sharp price hikes in crude oil when inventories are falling. Conversely, one would expect price declines when inventories are rising.
Data Source: Haver Analytics

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