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Demand Fears Are Outpacing Supply Fears To Start Tuesday’s Trading As China Has Initiated Yet Another Round Of COVID Crackdowns

Tuesday, Aug 30 2022
Market Talk

Demand fears are outpacing supply fears to start Tuesday’s trading as China has initiated yet another round of COVID crackdowns, shutting down markets and cities across the world’s largest oil importer. Gasoline prices are down a dime in the early going, and crude oil prices have already erased most of Monday’s big gains.   

Diesel prices are resisting the big pull lower from crude and gasoline today – after dropping by a dime Monday – following reports that Russia is cutting more natural gas deliveries, this time to France, as Moscow continues to use its most powerful weapon in its war on Europe. 

Speaking of which, a WSJ article this week highlights that even though Russia may be fumbling in its shooting war in Ukraine, its energy revenue has continued to grow as the world has shifted to find new ways to get their oil and products to market as creative traders find no shortage of loopholes in the current sanctions. 

European leaders agreed to meet next week to come up with emergency plans to deal with runaway electricity prices that are pushing households across the continent to the brink of bankruptcy or worse. Price caps for natural gas are one of main ideas being floated to deal with this issue temporarily, even though price caps can be counterproductive as they remove the incentive for some producers to rush to bring more output online. 

BP’s Whiting refinery outside of Chicago has initiated restart, and could be back up and running by the weekend if all goes well, which is easing concerns of a regional supply crunch that prompted the EPA to waive summer RVP specs a few weeks early.  

While refinery capacity losses have justifiably grabbed many headlines over the past year, ExxonMobil has been quietly expanding one of its facilities, in Beaumont TX, and is ready to bring 250,000 barrels/day of new capacity online early next year. That additional capacity is the equivalent of one above-average size refinery, and will effectively replace the 260,000 barrels/day facility that was killed by Hurricane Ida last year

There are very good odds we’ll have a named storm heading towards the US by Labor day, with the NHC still giving 80% odds of development for a system moving across the Atlantic.  The good news is that forecast models suggest there are low odds that this storm will hit the US, and will more likely stay out to sea as it moves north parallel to the East Coast next week. A 2nd system is currently given 40% odds of development in the next 5 days as it moves out to the Atlantic, and long range models suggest we should expect a new system every few days for the next several weeks as conditions for development improve.

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