Morning Selloff Snowballs Into Something Meaningful

Market TalkWednesday, Jul 3 2019
Heavy Selling In Energy Futures

A little morning selloff snowballed into something much more meaningful Tuesday, and when the dust settled petroleum futures had wiped out almost all of their gains from the past two weeks.

“That’s not the reaction we were looking for”: The big sell-off came in the wake of OPEC & Friends formally extending their output cut targets for the next 9 months, and formalizing their partnership through a “charter of cooperation”.

Inventory draws reported by the API late Tuesday seem to have helped the complex find a modest bid through the overnight session, keeping the selling in check for now. The report was said to show a 5 million barrel decline in US Oil stocks, while distillates dropped by 1.7 million barrels and gasoline stocks fell by 387,000 barrels. The EIA’s weekly status report is due out at its normal time this morning.

So what exactly was so bearish to justify Tuesday’s selling? Really, not much. There were reports that Philadelphia union and city leaders were meeting to discuss potential options for restarting part of the shuttered PES refining complex, although most reports suggest it’s unlikely that a new buyer will be found. The EU tariff news was a bearish surprise, although stock markets had a limited reaction to that story. It’s also likely that with vacation season in full swing, and many already looking ahead to the long weekend, the snowball effect was easier to achieve once the selling started due to light trading volume.

Speaking of the long weekend: Spot prices will not be posted Thursday and Friday, even though NYMEX & ICE futures will be trading both days, so most rack postings tonight will carry through the weekend. Most refiners are leaving the option open (as they normally do) to change prices if needed even though most offices will be officially closed until Monday.

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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.