Given the fact that crude oil inventories rose for a record 14th straight week to their highest levels on record, you wouldn’t have expected the price of the commodity to rise by more than 5%. These days, though, all it takes is a smaller than expected build in stockpiles and the price of oil will go crazy. For the latest week, traders were expecting crude oil inventories to increase by 3.6 million barrels, but the actual increase was barely a third of that at 1.249 million barrels. The chart below compares crude oil inventories by week so far in 2015 to their historical weekly levels over the last ten years and since 1983. At current levels, crude stockpiles are 146 million barrels (41%) above average.
Even though this week’s build in crude inventories was less than expected, the 10-week rolling total of inventory builds is right near its recently reached record high of 79 million barrels.