State of stocks bodes ill for refiners

Keep your eye on inventories. Granted, their recent behavior might make it a bit difficult to focus, but the underlying state of oil inventories will provide some firmness to the market's foundation in the weeks to come.The key word here is "underlying." Market-watchers have been getting mixed signals on the state of inventories lately.During the week ended July 12, US crude oil inventories posted another fall. Crude stocks were drawn down by 4 million bbl-down also by almost the same amount year-to-year. That continuing trend seemed to be inconsistent with a concurrent rebound in crude imports, up 700,000 bbl, and apparently flat refinery runs following the July 4 holiday in the US, ...

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