Crude Oil And Gasoline Prices Are Lower This Morning Than They Were On The First Day Of The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

Market TalkFriday, Aug 5 2022
Pivotal Week For Price Action

Crude oil and gasoline prices are lower this morning than they were on the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as a breakdown in technical support and sentiment for consumption both seem to be pushing prices lower. RBOB and WTI were attempting to make small gains this morning after trading in negative territory overnight, but if the attempt to bounce doesn’t accelerate soon, the charts suggest we’re in for another wave of selling. 

Gulf Coast and Midwestern gasoline spot prices dipped below $2.50 on implied values overnight, which could mean retail prices below the $3 mark in some markets if values hold around this level for another week or more. Unless the market reverses course, more markets may join the sub $3 retail club in another 6 weeks as the transition to winter-spec gasoline ensues, and producers can once again start blending more butane, which is $1.25/gallon or more cheaper than gasoline.

Diesel prices resisted gasoline’s pull lower for the start of the week, but are catching up now that the bottom end of the descending triangle gave way, and quickly dropped another 12 cents after taking out that chart support before finding a temporary floor just above $3.20 overnight. Fundamentally, it’s difficult to make a case for diesel prices continuing to fall, especially with demand destined to ramp up in the fall.  Read here for another argument on why now may be a good time to buy ULSD.   

One headline that may explain why diesel prices are down more than a dime this morning even as gasoline prices were able to move into positive territory: Germany said it could keep its nuclear power plants operating this winter, which will help ease the shortage of natural gas and distillates needed to power the region. 

The July payrolls report knocked stock prices, along with gasoline and WTI, back into negative territory as another strong reading on the US job market seems to have spooked the machines that base their bets on easy money from the FED, which is sure to be encouraged by the fact that their first 4 interest rate increases haven’t hurt the labor market. Adding more than 550,000 jobs to the government estimate since the last report will also help the argument of those that say the US is not in a recession, despite 2 straight quarters of negative GDP growth.

The tropics remain eerily quiet as we approach the busy part of the Atlantic hurricane season. Officially, the NHC says no new tropical cyclones are expected in the next 5 days, but longer range models are already tracking 2 potential systems moving over Africa, that could develop as they move out to sea next week.  Colorado State’s latest forecast for the season was reduced by 2 named storms, but still suggests we’re in for a busy year with 16 more storms yet to come. The weather channel forecasters seem to agree noting yesterday that 90% of the storm activity is yet to come. 

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Market Talk Update 08-05-22

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Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkThursday, Feb 29 2024

It's Another Mixed Start For Energy Futures This Morning After Refined Products Saw Some Heavy Selling Wednesday

It's another mixed start for energy futures this morning after refined products saw some heavy selling Wednesday. Both gasoline and diesel prices dropped 7.5-8.5 cents yesterday despite a rather mundane inventory report. The larger-than-expected build in crude oil inventories (+4.2 million barrels) was the only headline value of note, netting WTI futures a paltry 6-cent per barrel gain on the day.

The energy markets seem to be holding their breath for this morning’s release of the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The price index is the Fed’s preferred inflation monitor and has the potential to impact how the central bank moves forward with interest rates.

Nationwide refinery runs are still below their 5-year average with utilization across all PADDs well below 90%. While PADD 3 production crossed its 5-year average, it’s important to note that measure includes the “Snovid” shutdown of 2021 and throughput is still below the previous two years with utilization at 81%.

We will have to wait until next week to see if the FCC and SRU shutdowns at Flint Hills’ Corpus Christi refinery will have a material impact on the regions refining totals. Detail on the filing can be found on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website.

Update: the PCE data shows a decrease in US inflation to 2.4%, increasing the likelihood of a rate cut later this year. Energy futures continue drifting, unfazed.

Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk, including all charts from the Weekly DOE Report.

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Feb 28 2024

It’s Red Across The Board For Energy Prices So Far This Morning With The ‘Big Three’ Contracts All Trading Lower To Start The Day

It’s red across the board for energy prices so far this morning with the ‘big three’ contracts (RBOB, HO, WTI) all trading lower to start the day. Headlines are pointing to the rise in crude oil inventories as the reason for this morning’s pullback, but refined product futures are leading the way lower, each trading down 1% so far, while the crude oil benchmark is only down around .3%.

The American Petroleum Institute published their national inventory figures yesterday afternoon, estimating an 8+ million-barrel build in crude oil inventory across the country. Gasoline and diesel stocks are estimated to have dropped by 3.2 and .5 million barrels last week, respectively. The official report from the Department of Energy is due out at its regular time this morning (9:30 CST).

OPEC’n’friends are rumored to be considering extending their voluntary production cuts into Q2 of this year in an effort to buoy market prices. These output reductions, reaching back to late 2022, are aimed at paring back global supply by about 2.2 million barrels per day and maintaining a price floor. On the flip side, knowledge of the suspended-yet-available production capacity and record US output is keeping a lid on prices.

How long can they keep it up? While the cartel’s de facto leader (Saudi Arabia) may be financially robust enough to sustain itself through reduced output indefinitely, that isn’t the case for other member countries. Late last year Angola announced it will be leaving OPEC, freeing itself to produce and market its oil as it wishes. This marks the fourth membership suspension over the past decade (Indonesia 2016, Qatar 2019, Ecuador 2020).

The spot price for Henry Hub natural gas hit a record low, exchanging hands for an average of $1.50 per MMBtu yesterday. A rise in production over the course of 2023 and above average temperatures this winter have pressured the benchmark to a price not seen in its 27-year history, much to Russia’s chagrin.

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