Well, crude oil inventories were bound to decline at some point. After ten straight weeks of increases, crude oil inventories finally declined this week. While traders were expecting stockpiles to fall by 500 thousand barrels, the actual decline was more than eleven times that, at 5.585 million barrels! That was the largest weekly decline since July. Even after today's decline, though, inventories remain well above average for the current time of year. Looking at the chart, we can also expect to see inventories decline going forward for the rest of the year.
Gasoline inventories increased by a larger than expected margin this week. While traders were expecting an increase of 1.25 million barrels, the actual increase was closer to 2 million barrels (1.828 mln). While crude oil inventories typically decline through the end of December, gasoline is entering the period of the year (December through February) where inventories typically build.