U.S. crude oil imports. Huge jump in the week ended July 23, with total imports up to 11.15 million barrels daily.
This is the highest weekly level of oil imports since the financial crisis broke late in 2008.
More importantly, it continues the uptrend that's been in place since the beginning of 2010. (Following more than a year of declining crude imports.)
Strong energy buying is a global theme these days. This week, Japan announced the nation's LNG buying during the first half of 2010 came in at a record 34.68 million metric tons.
The renewed buying seems to be part of the "re-stocking phase" everyone was waiting for. Facing recession last year, users of almost everything were loath to build inventories. They simply didn't know if there would be any demand for products.
Users instead drew down stockpiles. And oil was no exception. Between April 2009 and January 2010, U.S. crude inventories fell by nearly 50 million barrels.
But crude stockpiles have been on the rise this year, in step with growing imports. Re-stocking is at hand.
The same has been happening for all manner of commodities. Coal, iron ore, copper. Companies that use these products are betting on a global economic recovery. Which will hopefully mean enough buying of steel, copper wire and other end products to justify stocking up on supplies.
The question now is: will buyers for these products actually materialize?
By. Dave Forest of Notela Resources