After declining for a record nine straight weeks, crude oil inventories have now risen for three straight weeks. According to the DoE, crude oil stockpiles increased by 1.055 million barrels compared to expectations for a decline of 1.5 million barrels. As shown in the shaded box in the top chart, crude inventories have been rising for the last three weeks, at a time of year when they are typically declining. With the increases over the last three weeks, crude oil inventories are currently 188 million (53%) above average for this time of year and within 20 million barrels of their multi-decade peak.
While crude oil inventories unexpectedly increased, gasoline stocks saw a larger than expected decline for the second straight week. As shown in the top chart below, stockpiles were expected to decline by 1.3 million barrels this week, but the actual decline was more than twice that at 2.8 million barrels, making the two-week decline more than 6 million barrels.