Crude oil prices edged lower on Thursday ahead of the Fed’s decision on interest rates expected at 2:00 PM ET. Prices broke out on Wednesday following a report from the Energy Information Administration that showed that crude oil inventories declined by more than expected. Support is seen near the50-day moving average at $45.81, and then again at the 20-day moving average at $44.26. Resistance is seen near the recent highs at $49.
The inventory numbers released from the Department of Energy were mixed but the market appears to have only seen the bullish aspect. U.S. commercial crude oil inventories decreased by 2.1 million barrels from the previous week, but expectations were for a flat reading. Total gasoline inventories increased by 2.8 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 3.1 million barrels last week but are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 8.5 million barrels last week.
On the demand front, total products demand over the last four-week period averaged 19.5 million barrels per day, up by 0.7% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, gasoline demand averaged about 9.2 million barrels per day, up by 2.0% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel demand averaged 3.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.8% from the same period last year. Jet fuel demand is up 5.6% compared to the same four-week period last year.