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API sees oil demand slump to new lows

Feb. 22, 2013 at 6:38 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A slump in demand for petroleum products in January shows the U.S. economy is still in a weakened state, the American Petroleum Institute said.

API reports U.S. petroleum deliveries, seen as a measure of demand, were at an 18-year low to less than 18 million barrels per day in January. That's a 1.7 percent decline from the same time last year.

"The January numbers reprise last year's theme of weak demand," API Chief Economist John Felmy said in a statement. "This isn't surprising given an economy that's still treading water."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports a January unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, down from the 8.1 percent reported for August. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, however, said that manufacturing activity was declining.

API reports that domestic crude oil imports for January were at the lowest level in 13 years to around 10.4 million bpd. Domestic crude oil production, however, passed the 7 million bpd last month for the first time in 20 years last month.

"Year-over-year increases in domestic crude oil production have occurred for 16 straight months," API said.

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