Crude oil inventories surged by more than 9 million barrels this week, and that was more than triple what traders were expecting. While it is normal for crude oil stockpiles to rise at this time of year, the current pace of increase has been much more than normal. Total stockpiles are up at another multi-decade high and are currently more than 195 million barrels above the average for this time of year dating back to 1983. That’s 54% above average!
To put the recent build in stockpiles into context, the chart below shows the rolling ten-week change in crude oil inventories since 1983. With this week’s build, total inventories have risen by 50 million barrels in the last ten weeks. For the current week of the year, the only year where stockpiles increased at a faster rate was last year, and the average ten-week rolling inventory change for this time of year is 14.6 million barrels.