Early Recovery Bounce Takes Place

Market TalkTuesday, Feb 11 2020
A Wild January Comes To A Close

Energy prices continue to search for a bottom this morning, with an early recovery bounce taking place after Brent crude reached one-year lows during Monday’s sell-off. The ripple effects of the coronavirus quarantine continues to dominate the headlines, keeping fear in the driver’s seat for energy commodities, even while most equity markets seem to have moved past the fear of contagion.

A Bloomberg note helps explain how the reaction to the coronavirus is complicating shipping logistics in addition to hurting demand for fuel and other commodities, which seems to be driving the recent disconnect between energy and equity markets that had been attached at the hip for large periods of time last year.

RBOB outperformed the rest of the complex for a second straight day during Monday’s session, following reports that the Bayway NJ refinery may be forced to keep its damaged FCC unit offline for the entire month. NYH gasoline basis values also rallied for a second day, but were outpaced by a stronger rally on the west coast where yet another refinery upset sent cash prices in LA and the Bay Area higher even while futures were dropping on the day.

It’s data deluge week with the EIA, IEA and OPEC all scheduled to publish their monthly market reports over the next three days. The EIA’s STEO will be out later this morning, then OPEC’s report tomorrow and the IEA’s Thursday. Expect demand estimates to be cut across the board as analysts try to predict the fallout of China’s economic slowdown.

The EIA took a look at fuel-switching capabilities in the U.S. electric grid this morning, noting that 13 percent of capacity can change between natural gas and fuel-oil feed stocks, which explains why there’s a spike in diesel demand during severe cold snaps. Unfortunately for producers of both natural gas and diesel fuel, there’s been minimal demand for either fuel this year as the world is going through the warmest winter on record, which has contributed to prices for both Nat Gas and ULSD reaching multi-year lows.

The IEA published a special report on the battle against climate change this morning, noting that global carbon dioxide emissions flat-lined in 2019 thanks in large part to increased renewable fuel usage, and more switching to Nat Gas from coal in electricity production.

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Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Jun 7 2023

Energy Prices Fluctuate: Chinese Imports Surge, Saudi Arabia Cuts Output and Buys Golf

Energy prices continue their back-and-forth trading, starting Wednesday’s session with modest gains, after a round of selling Tuesday wiped out the Saudi output cut bounce. 

A surge in China’s imports of crude oil and natural gas seem to be the catalyst for the early move higher, even though weak export activity from the world’s largest fuel buyer suggests the global economy is still struggling. 

New tactic?  Saudi Arabia’s plan to voluntarily cut oil production by another 1 million barrels/day failed to sustain a rally in oil prices to start the week, so they bought the PGA tour

The EIA’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook raised its price forecast for oil, citing the Saudi cuts, and OPEC’s commitment to extend current production restrictions through 2024. The increase in prices comes despite reducing the forecast for US fuel consumption, as GDP growth projections continue to decline from previous estimates. 

The report included a special article on diesel consumption, and its changing relationship with economic activity that does a good job of explaining why diesel prices are $2/gallon cheaper today than they were a year ago.   

The API reported healthy builds in refined product inventories last week, with distillates up 4.5 million barrels while gasoline stocks were up 2.4 million barrels in the wake of Memorial Day. Crude inventories declined by 1.7 million barrels on the week. The DOE’s weekly report is due out at its normal time this morning. 

We’re still waiting on the EPA’s final ruling on the Renewable Fuel Standard for the next few years, which is due a week from today, but another Reuters article suggests that eRINs will not be included in this round of making up the rules.

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

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkTuesday, Jun 6 2023

Energy Prices Retreat, Global Demand Concerns Loom

So much for that rally. Energy prices have given back all of the gains made following Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it would voluntarily withhold another 1 million barrels/day of oil production starting in July. The pullback appears to be rooted in the ongoing concerns over global demand after a soft PMI report for May while markets start to focus on what the FED will do at its FOMC meeting next week.

The lack of follow through to the upside leaves petroleum futures stuck in neutral technical territory, and since the top end of the recent trading range didn’t break, it seems likely we could see another test of the lower end of the range in the near future.  

RIN prices have dropped sharply in the past few sessions, with traders apparently not waiting on the EPA’s final RFS ruling – due in a week – to liquidate positions. D6 values dropped to their lowest levels in a year Monday, while D4 values hit a 15-month low. In unrelated news, the DOE’s attempt to turn seaweed into biofuels has run into a whale problem.  

Valero reported a process leak at its Three Rivers TX refinery that lasted a fully 24 hours.  That’s the latest in a string of upsets for south Texas refineries over the past month that have kept supplies from San Antonio, Austin and DFW tighter than normal. Citgo Corpus Christi also reported an upset over the weekend at a sulfur recovery unit. Several Corpus facilities have been reporting issues since widespread power outages knocked all of the local plants offline last month.  

Meanwhile, the Marathon Galveston Bay (FKA Texas City) refinery had another issue over the weekend as an oil movement line was found to be leaking underground but does not appear to have impacted refining operations at the facility. Gulf Coast traders don’t seem concerned by any of the latest refinery issues, with basis values holding steady to start the week.

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