EIA Oil Inventories Build, Even as Refineries Keep Activity Low.

The Energy Information Administration on Thursday reported that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 8.4 million barrels for the week ended Jan. 13. This number is in sharp contrast to the 900,000 barrels that analysts had expected. Today’s report seemed to reinforce some fears of a slowdown in the US Economy and dropping demand.

This week saw Gasoline inventory rise by 3.5 million barrels. While distillate stockpiles fell by 1.9 million barrels. The analyst survey had called for a supply increase of 1.4 million barrels for gasoline and a decline of 500,000 barrels for distillates. Crude stocks climbed by 3.6 million barrels for the week. February West Texas Intermediate crude was up 73 cents, or 0.9%, at $80.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was $80.05 before the supply data.

This compared with an inventory decline of 1.1 million barrels for the previous week and production of 4.5 million barrels daily.

Some are bracing up for higher diesel prices after the EU embargo on Russian fuels comes into effect in early February. This could shift global fuel routes, tighten supply, and push consumer prices higher since diesel is the fuel used by freight vehicles.