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After A Brief Pullback Thursday, Energy Prices Are Climbing Once Again

Friday, Aug 26 2022
Market Talk

After a brief pullback Thursday, energy prices are climbing once again, ending a strong week that followed Saudi Arabia sending a harsh message to the US President and the global oil market about its plans to set a floor under prices. 

A fire at the largest refinery in the Midwest that’s shut down production at most operating units comes just as the region prepares for its peak diesel demand during the harvest. For a supply network already stretched thin, particularly on distillates, this is exactly the type of disruption that has the potential to create a rash of outages if the refinery isn’t able to resume production soon. Given the location of the facility near of Chicago, this won’t directly impact the NYH market, but it still could impact futures as traders could be forced to unwind positions, and with low volume and open interest, it doesn’t take much to create big price swings. 

We did see ULSD have a large correction Thursday, pulling back after rising 97 cents/gallon in just 13 trading sessions. While an 18 cent reversal in a day is noteworthy, the contract still maintained a higher high and higher low on the daily chart, and has wasted no time this morning resuming the rally, which makes yesterday’s slide look like profit-taking rather than the end of the trend.

Another potential influence in Thursday’s big reversal (besides the fact that Thursday’s often host reversals) is the influence of the ULSD/RBOB spread that has seen record setting moves in the past week. That spread started the week at 68 cents/gallon then surged past $1.20 before pulling back yesterday. The “heat to gas” spread is one of a handful of trades known as “widow makers” in the industry, and the action this week demonstrates why. 

Financial markets are focused on a speech by the US FED chair later today, with fed fund futures showing that the market is essentially split on whether the September FOMC meeting will end with a 50 or 75 point rate increase. 

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk.

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