Make that two straight weeks of big declines in crude oil inventories. After last week's decline of more than 10 million barrels, crude oil inventories from the Department of Energy dropped by close to 10 million barrels again this week. With a two week total decline of 20.194 million barrels, the last two weeks have seen the largest two week drawdown in crude oil inventories since at least 1983.
Ahead of this week's report, traders were expecting a decline of 3.2 million barrels, while the actual decline was more than three times that at 9.847 million barrels. It is typical for crude oil inventories to fall at this time of year, but not by this much. Ironically, even after the record decline of the last two weeks, US crude oil stockpiles are still well above their historical average for this time of year.
Gasoline inventories also declined this week, but not by nearly as much as crude oil. While traders were looking for a build of a million barrels, inventories actually declined by 2.634 million barrels. Here again, it is typical for inventories to decline at this time of year, so this week's drop is nothing out of the ordinary. While current levels of gasoline are not as far above normal as they are for crude oil, they too are still above average.