Crude oil prices fell by 5.5 million barrels in the week to August 5. That's down from 9.3 million barrels a week earlier. Inventories increased by 1.2 million barrels, up from 1.1 million barrels the week before. The rise in inventories was due to the increase in crude oil prices.

Middle distillate production averaged 5.1 million bpd last week. This compared with a draw of 2.4 million barrels for the previous week. Inventories have fallen to dangerously low levels and from this moment on, Reuters’ John Kemp wrote last week, “either an imminent recession reduces consumption or prices are likely to surge higher.”

U.S. manufacturing activity may be set for a decline in the second half of this year. Refineries continued to operate at high run rates, the average standing at 94.3 percent of capacity. EIA data cited by Kemp, distillate fuels have declined in 66 of the last 109 weeks.

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