Today's weekly releases of crude oil and gasoline inventories from the Department of Energy (DoE) both showed considerably larger-than-expected declines, and with oil prices already on the rise, today's data won't help. While traders were expecting crude oil inventories to fall by 2.25 million barrels, the actual decline was more than four times that at 10.347 million barrels. This was the largest weekly decline so far this year. Even after this week's sharp decline, though, inventories still remain well above average.
While gasoline inventories also declined this week, the drop was not nearly the magnitude of the decline in crude oil stockpiles. Traders were expecting inventories to rise by 700,000 barrels, while the actual change was a decline of 1.719 million barrels. As shown in the chart below, this week's drop was right in line with what we typically see in gasoline inventories at this time of year.