Following on the heels of yesterday’s report from the API, today’s release of weekly crude oil and gasoline inventories showed notable declines. In the case of crude oil, inventories declined by 6.2 million barrels, compared to expectations for a gain of 3.35 million barrels. You may recall two weeks ago that a much larger than expected drawdown in crude oil inventories was attributed to weather impacts from Tropical Storm Hermine. Because of that inventories were expected to rebound in the coming weeks. So far, though, those increases have yet to materialize as the last two weeks have continued to see declines. With this week’s decline, US crude oil inventories are still 177 million barrels above their historical average dating back to 1984, but that is the lowest ‘surplus’ and lowest total level since February.
Gasoline stockpiles were expected to decline by 1.3 million barrels this week, but the actual decline was about 2.5 times that at -3.2 million barrels. As shown in the chart, the recent declines in gasoline stockpiles have come at a time of year when they are typically starting to level off or even rise. As a result, gasoline stocks are not far from levels where they were at this time last year.