U.S. crude oil inventories increased by an astonishing 6.8 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. Builds of this size are unusual for the summer in light of high demand for gasoline and other products created from crude.
The inventory increase helped push domestic crude prices lower immediately after the data was released, signaling that summer demand for crude may be waning. At 414.2 million bbl, crude inventories in the U.S. are about 52 million bbl lower than they were at this time last year. Last week’s increase in crude inventories was supported by domestic crude production topping 10.9 million b/d, while imports surged to just over 9 million b/d.