Memorial Day Gasoline And Diesel Prices Down From Last Years Record Setting Levels

Market TalkFriday, May 26 2023
Pivotal Week For Price Action

Energy prices are ticking modestly higher after a big Thursday sell-off wiped out most of the gains made earlier in the week as a pair of disagreements continues to keep traders guessing. 

Drivers heading out for Memorial Day weekend are enjoying retail gasoline prices that are more than $1.20/gallon less than last year’s record setting levels on average, thanks to the world’s supply network adjusting to the Russian supply shock. The year-on-year price drop is even more dramatic for diesel prices that are down $1.65/gallon on average, thanks to the “freight recession” pushing demand sharply lower.

Deal or no deal?  The political theatre continues in Washington with both sides preparing to declare victory in the debt debate, while dragging out the negotiations to the last minute in an effort to boost ratings.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are sending mixed messages on oil production quotas a week before the next OPEC & Friends meeting. This isn’t exactly new as Russia has been violating its official quotas for some time (which isn’t too surprising considering these are the same people that invaded Ukraine twice in the past decade) but the big question is whether or not the Saudi’s decide to teach them a lesson and turn this into another price war as they did in 2014 and 2020.   

NOAA predicted a “near normal” hurricane season in the Atlantic this year, with an El Nino pattern developing which will act as a counterbalance to the high-water temps in the Atlantic to some degree.  The forecast does warn that conditions for tropical waves forming off of the coast of Africa are favorable, which is where several of the biggest storms of all time have formed.  The outlook ends with its annual warning that despite the prediction for less activity this year than we’ve seen the past 3 years, it still only takes 1 storm to cause major disruptions. 

Pemex auditors are apparently admitting that the new 340,000 barrel/day refinery that had a grand opening last year was still not ready to produce refined products, and that the most recent target of July 2023 “was not feasible”. 

The Dallas FED published a look at the rapid growth at the busiest energy export port in the US this week, and it’s not the one you think it is

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

Market Talk Update 05.26.2023

News & Views

View All
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkFriday, Mar 1 2024

Oil Futures Are Leading The Energy Complex In A Modest Rally To Begin March Trading

Oil futures are leading the energy complex in a modest rally to begin March trading, with WTI and Brent both up around $1.50/barrel, while refined products are adding around 2 cents in the early going.

RBOB gasoline futures rolled to a summer-grade RVP with the April contract in prompt position this morning. West Coast cash markets are already converted to summer grades, so they’re holding their premiums to futures, while the markets east of the Rockies are now trading at substantial discounts to futures as they move through their remaining winter-cycles over the next 4-6 weeks. The high trade for the April RBOB contract last month was just north of $2.63, which sets the first layer of resistance to a March madness gasoline rally just about 3 cents north of current values.

While gasoline looks somewhat bullish on the charts, and has seasonal factors working in its favor, diesel prices look weak in comparison with prices reaching a 6-week low Thursday before finally finding a bid, and the roll to April futures cut out 3 cents from prompt values. Diesel prices also don’t enjoy the seasonal benefits of gasoline, with a winter-that-wasn’t offering no help for supplemental diesel demand to replace natural gas in the US or Europe.

Speaking of winter weather, the West Coast continues to get the worst of it in 2024, with a casual 10 feet of snow with 100+ mile an hour wind gusts hitting the Sierra Nevada range. While the worst of that winter storm is happening far from the coast, the San Francisco bay area is under a gale warning starting this afternoon.

The wildfires in the Texas panhandle are now the largest in state history, impacting more than 1 million acres of land. The P66 Borger refinery is caught between the blazes, but so far has not reported any operational issues or plans to change operations at the facility. Valero’s McKee refinery is located just 50 miles from Borger, but looks to be far enough north and West to not be threatened by the fires, for now at least.

Mass Exxodus? A Reuters report noted that Exxon had notified its traders that it was cutting their salaries, in another sign that the major’s move back into trading wasn’t going so well. Exxon’s Exodus has already been a bit of a joke for the past few years, and now that the traders are being targeted, don’t be surprised if the cube photos are taken to a new level.

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

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