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Crude oil futures rangebound on mixed EIA data

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Crude oil futures rangebound on mixed EIA data

Singapore — 0330 GMT: Crude oil futures were rangebound during mid-morning Asian trade May 6 following the release of the US Energy Information Administration's latest data, which was mixed.

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At 11:30 am Singapore time (0330 GMT), the ICE Brent July contract was up 24 cents/b (0.35%) from the May 5 settle at $69.20/b, while the June NYMEX light sweet crude contract was up 15 cents/b (0.23%) at $65.78/b.

The EIA data released late May 5 showed US crude inventories experiencing their largest draw since the week ended Jan. 1. According to the data, US crude inventories declined 7.99 million barrels to 485.12 million barrels in the week ended April 30.

The draw in crude inventories not only exceeded analysts' expectations of a 3.9 million-barrel fall, but was also ahead of the American Petroleum Institute's May 4 report of a 7.69 million-barrel decline in inventories.

The EIA's crude draw came on the back a 62% surge in US crude exports to 4.12 million b/d and a 1.5% increase in total refinery net crude input to 15.24 million b/d, according to the data.

The data, however, also had bearish elements, as it showed that total US gasoline stocks had climbed for a fifth-straight week, moving 740,000 barrels higher to 235.81 million barrels in the week ended April 30. US implied gasoline demand also edged 10,000 b/d lower to 8.86 million b/d, a six-week low.

Implied demand for distillates was down by nearly 5% at 4.13 million b/d, even as inventories declined 2.9 million barrels to a one-year low of 136.15 million barrels.

"The release of the weekly EIA also failed to drive any further buying...it was a rise of gasoline inventories that took the edge off any enthusiasm," ANZ analysts said in a May 5 note.

Meanwhile, the market continues to monitor the evolving pandemic situation in Asia, and in particular India, where burgeoning COVID-19 infection and fatality numbers have forced parts of the country to go under lockdown. According to the latest data from John Hopkins University, India reported 382,146 new cases and a record 3,780 new deaths on May 4.

The mobility restrictions imposed in the country are expected to weigh on oil demand.

Avtar Sandu, senior commodities manager at Phillips Futures, in a May 5 note said: "The country's oil imports in March rose from the previous month, buoyed by an upturn in economic activity, but are expected to drop again because of renewed lockdowns."