Modest Round Of Selling Picked Back Up

Market TalkTuesday, Nov 27 2018
DOE Week 48 - 2018 Report

After a healthy recovery rally fizzled at the close of Monday’s trading, a modest round of selling has picked back up to start Tuesday’s session. It’s common to see a period of sideways price action as traders reassess, balance positions and/or lick their wounds following a heavy sell-off like we saw last week, so it’s possible that November will end with some choppy back and forth action.

The big drop in futures Friday when spot markets were closed created plenty of confusion across the downstream sectors of the industry, with many wondering why wholesale prices fell sharply on Monday even though futures were up on the day. The product price estimates in the daily market overview attachment show the net result from when spot prices closed Wednesday, until they reopened Monday.

As the 2 month melt-down drags on, concerns are growing for the health of US Oil producers, while US Oil refiners are spending billions to take advantage of that new production.

Speaking of US Refiners, there was finally some good news for Citgo in the past week: Venezuela reached a settlement agreement to maintain control of its US-based refining arm. There still are some hurdles to clear however. A similar deal failed previously when Venezuela couldn’t make its agreed-upon payments, and a visit by the head of Rosneft over the weekend was a reminder that not all of the country’s creditors will allow being moved to the back of the payment line.

Large speculators cut their net-long holdings in all of the “big 4” petroleum futures contracts (Brent, WTI, RBOB, ULSD) for a 6th consecutive week last week. Given the size of the drop we saw on black Friday, it seems likely that we could see this reduction in bets on higher prices continue for a 7th week, but the pace of liquidation is slowing, which suggests the big money betters may already have left the energy building. If true, this could be a contrary indicator suggesting that prices may be near a bottom, at least in the short term.

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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
Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkWednesday, Feb 28 2024

It’s Red Across The Board For Energy Prices So Far This Morning With The ‘Big Three’ Contracts All Trading Lower To Start The Day

It’s red across the board for energy prices so far this morning with the ‘big three’ contracts (RBOB, HO, WTI) all trading lower to start the day. Headlines are pointing to the rise in crude oil inventories as the reason for this morning’s pullback, but refined product futures are leading the way lower, each trading down 1% so far, while the crude oil benchmark is only down around .3%.

The American Petroleum Institute published their national inventory figures yesterday afternoon, estimating an 8+ million-barrel build in crude oil inventory across the country. Gasoline and diesel stocks are estimated to have dropped by 3.2 and .5 million barrels last week, respectively. The official report from the Department of Energy is due out at its regular time this morning (9:30 CST).

OPEC’n’friends are rumored to be considering extending their voluntary production cuts into Q2 of this year in an effort to buoy market prices. These output reductions, reaching back to late 2022, are aimed at paring back global supply by about 2.2 million barrels per day and maintaining a price floor. On the flip side, knowledge of the suspended-yet-available production capacity and record US output is keeping a lid on prices.

How long can they keep it up? While the cartel’s de facto leader (Saudi Arabia) may be financially robust enough to sustain itself through reduced output indefinitely, that isn’t the case for other member countries. Late last year Angola announced it will be leaving OPEC, freeing itself to produce and market its oil as it wishes. This marks the fourth membership suspension over the past decade (Indonesia 2016, Qatar 2019, Ecuador 2020).

The spot price for Henry Hub natural gas hit a record low, exchanging hands for an average of $1.50 per MMBtu yesterday. A rise in production over the course of 2023 and above average temperatures this winter have pressured the benchmark to a price not seen in its 27-year history, much to Russia’s chagrin.

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