U.S. crude oil in storage rose by the largest amount on record on Wednesday, and analysts are looking overseas for answers.
The stunning 14.4 million barrel weekly increase was underscored by a rise in crude imports of 2 million barrels a day. Traders scrutinize the weekly data from the world's biggest oil consumer, because falling stockpiles will play a big part in balancing the market and boosting depressed crude prices following a prolonged supply glut.
The jump in imports is partly seasonal. Refineries are once again taking in crude following the post-summer maintenance period.