After last night’s big build in inventories reported by the API, traders were expecting a larger than expected increase in stockpiles from this morning’s report from the Department of Energy, and that’s exactly what they got.  With the consensus estimate calling for an inventory build of 4 million barrels, the actual increase was more than twice that at 8.383 million.  That puts current US crude oil inventories at a record high of 494.92 million barrels.  As shown in the chart below, another week like this and we are going to have to adjust our y-axis higher.  In the lower chart, we show the spread between current inventory levels of crude oil relative to their average for this time of year going back to 1983.  At current levels, US inventory levels are now 50% above normal!

Crude 012716

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