Slide 8 of 19
- Consistent with OECD inventories, U.S. inventories are low. They have been well below the normal range for over one year.
- Crude oil stocks in the United States, while tending to increase of late toward more normal levels, remain well below average. At the end of December, crude oil stocks were near 289 million barrels, about 4% below the 5-year average, and slightly higher than at the end of 1999. The latest weekly data, for the week ending January 19, show U.S. crude oil stocks at 286 million barrels, just about a million barrels above their level a year ago.
- Near-term tightness in U.S. crude oil markets have kept current prices above forward prices, reflecting current strength in crude oil demand relative to supply.
- Relatively strong U.S. oil demand next year should keep crude oil demand high and inventories relatively low, probably through all of next year. Low inventories raise the risk of price volatility.