World’s most watched oil data won’t be released this week

World’s most watched oil data won’t be released this week
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(June 24): The most closely watched oil data in the world -- the US government’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report -- won’t be released as planned this week because of system issues stemming from a power problem.

The Energy Information Administration has delayed the release of all but its Weekly Natural Gas Inventory report planned this week after electricity issues caused an unspecified hardware failure. “We aren’t releasing any more data this week,” spokesman Chris Higginbotham said. The agency last experienced a significant delay in 2013 due to a government shutdown, he said.

The U.S. is among the few major oil-producing and oil-consuming nations that publish weekly, detailed data on the health of the nation’s petroleum supply and demand. The report provides key insights into an oil market that’s seen prices rise more than 40% this year, forcing governments to wrestle with surging inflation. When it is released, the data often moves oil prices.

Each week, oil traders and market observers around the world watch for the release of the EIA’s weekly publication, routinely on a Wednesday. The report covers everything from crude oil and gasoline to natural gas liquids. This week, its release was pushed to Thursday because of the Juneteenth federal holiday observed on Monday.  

The report’s delay is leaving a hole for a market hungry for insight. “For me, it’s a big thing. It greenlights or blacklists things especially when inflation is all the rage. It changes your view on the market,” said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA.

The EIA’s weekly report is also often used to verify similar data issued by industry-funded American Petroleum Institute. The group usually publishes its findings the day before the US government.

The agency said staff were replacing damaged equipment such as servers and would need to reload data and perform quality checks before the reports can be published. It expects to provide an update on Monday.