Energy Futures Are Back On The March Higher To Start Friday’s Trading

Market TalkFriday, Feb 11 2022
Pivotal Week For Price Action

Energy futures are back on the march higher to start Friday’s trading, and have now wiped out the heavy losses from earlier in the week. Gasoline futures are back on track for an 8th straight week of gains if the current levels hold today, while ULSD needs to add another penny to continue its winning streak.    

Plummeting COVID counts are providing plenty of demand optimism, while tensions around Ukraine keep supply shortages at the top of mind, and reality is starting to sink it that a nuclear deal with Iran, which would allow 1 million barrels/day or more of oil back onto the world market, is a long shot. 

The January CPI release Thursday sent shockwaves through markets around the world as US inflation reached a 40 year high and may keep volatility elevated near term. 

Before the CPI reading, the CME’s FedWatch was showing a 33% probability of a 50 point rate hike at the March FOMC meeting, and that spiked to 93% after the report as traders are now convinced that the FED must make its largest single increase since 2000 to try and get on top of runaway inflation. 

The report created some rollercoaster trading for energy futures, with refined products giving up their overnight gains in just a few minutes after the report, only to rally a nickel or more later in the morning, and then fall back again in the afternoon as the sell-off in equity markets started picking up steam. Over the past month, energy and equity markets have moved in opposite directions more often than not (see the correlation chart below) in large part due to concerns over Ukraine that could be bearish for stocks and bullish for energy, but there’s a good chance we could see the two move more in tandem as we did Thursday, whenever FED expectations take the lead.

If you’re not sure what’s a more confusing concept, crypto currency or carbon credits, you’ll find the cadre creating contracts that combines the two concerning. Carbon backed crypto contracts seem to be increasing faster than fuel prices, giving cons and criminals a whole new field (or rainforest) to express their creativity.

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Market Talk Update 02.11.22

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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.