Energy Prices Were On The Move Higher To Start Wednesday’s Trading
Energy prices were on the move higher to start Wednesday’s trading despite increases in weekly inventory levels after another attempted sell-off proved short lived, and buyers seem to be quite content to buy the dip.
A late day rally cut Tuesday’s losses dramatically, with RBOB bouncing 10 cents off of its low for the day, while ULSD rallied by 7 cents. Despite that big bounce, which managed to keep the bullish trend comfortably intact, ULSD prices did snap their 10 session winning streak that had added a casual 66 cents to prices over the past 2 weeks.
The EIA’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook followed the pattern of several major bank reports in the past week, raising its forecast for energy prices for the next year due to the ongoing fallout over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even though the forecast suggests global oil supplies should outpace demand in each of the next 6 quarters.
The report predicts that Russian oil output will drop 2 million barrels/day over the coming year from 11 to 9 million, while US output will increase from 11 million to 13 million by the end of 2023. The report also highlights the drop in operable US refining capacity over the past 2 years, as a harsh reminder that this isn’t so much a global lack of oil, it’s more a shortage of transportation and refining capabilities. See the notes and charts below.
The API reported inventory builds across the board last week with US crude and gasoline stocks each up 1.8 million barrels, while distillates increased by 3.3 million. The DOE’s version of the weekly stats is due out at its normal time this morning.
Excuse me: New efforts to curb carbon emissions this week include New Zealand putting a pricing mechanism on sheep and cow burps and a Wisconsin fuel marketer shipping processed cow waste to California. (insert Texans making a “is that why they’re all moving here?” joke) Meanwhile, as new and more creative ways to take advantage of California’s Low Carbon Fuel standard emerge, that market-based program is seeing the value of its credits plummet to 5 year lows.
Open Interest: The STEO also noted the dramatic drop in open interest for energy contracts, stating that, “Fewer futures contracts held by these traders suggest some producers or end users could be reducing their hedging activity, in part, because higher commodity prices and higher volatility are likely making it more expensive to hedge. In addition, higher interest rates may be increasing the costs of opening a futures position, such as higher margin rates.” Keep this in mind the next time oil prices crash.
East Coast Shortages: “By the end of April, gasoline inventories on the East Coast were 14 million barrels below their five-year (2017–2021) average levels (Figure 6). At the same time, combined Gulf Coast and Midwest inventories were almost 2 million barrels above their five-year average level. In May, East Coast gasoline inventories remained low and did not decrease much further, while Midwest and Gulf Coast inventories drew down substantially. On May 27, combined Gulf Coast and Midwest inventories were down by 6 million barrels from their end-April levels while East Coast gasoline inventories were down by almost 1 million barrels”
Tight Diesel Supplies: We estimate distillate imports, which would normally increase to help rebuild low inventories and moderate prices, were below the five-year average at 145,000 b/d for the four weeks ending May 27. If confirmed in monthly data, this recent decrease in distillate imports would signal that global demand remains strong as markets continue to adjust to sanctions on Russia’s exports, reduced export quotas in China, and overall lower global refinery capacity.
Refinery crack spreads: Inventories for gasoline and diesel in the United States are low at the same time that they are similarly low in Europe and elsewhere in the Atlantic Basin, contributing to broad increases in crack spreads for both products