Crude oil prices are once again drifting lower after the API reported another huge build in crude oil stocks late Tuesday afternoon. The API reported a 6.3 million barrels build for the seventh weekly build in a row of builds even as the U.S. refining sector continues to increase refinery utilization rates as they return from the fall maintenance season.
Crude oil prices continue to struggle to the upside as the first snapshot of fundamentals this week--the API inventory report--was mostly bearish. The more widely followed oil inventory report is due out at 10:30 a.m. EST this morning which is expected to show an across the board build in the complex.
The crude oil market is generally mired in a range as most participants are focused on earnings related data. Yesterday's release of the American Petroleum Institute inventory data didn't do much to push the energy markets out of their recent relatively tight range though all of the data points were modestly bearish showing better than expected builds for crude, gasoline and distillates.
After moving sideways for several trading sessions the crude oil complex made a turn to the downside yesterday and continues on the defensive so far this morning. Since the uptrend started in mid-March the spot WTI contract has increased by about $13 per barrel before stabilizing and then turning lower.