New COVID Fears Grip Markets Worldwide

Market TalkThursday, Oct 15 2020
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There’s a wave of risk-off selling gripping markets around the world Thursday as fears of a second-wave of COVID – and the shutdowns it’s bringing - seem to be driving the action.   Energy futures appear to be caught up in the demand fear, with most dropping by more than three percent so far today, despite supplies getting tighter in the U.S. last week.   

The Dallas FED’s Mobility and Engagement index is showing that the upward trend in movement around the U.S. may have topped out in the latest report. You might also notice similarities in that chart, with the WTI price charts below, which makes sense given transportation fuel being such a major piece of energy demand, and helps explain the negative reaction in prices now that it looks like we’ll see substantial parts of the world start enforcing lockdowns once again.

The API was reported to show inventory draws of 5.4 million barrels for crude oil, 3.9 million barrels of distillates, and 1.5 million barrels for gasoline. Those numbers seem to have been discounted heavily (or perhaps ignored completely based on the price action) due to the impact of Hurricane Delta, which temporarily closed most Gulf of Mexico oil production and numerous refineries. Since the storm did not appear to do major damage that would impact supply long term, it’s expected we’ll see a quick recovery for the production that was shut in. The DOE’s weekly status report is due out at 10 a.m. Central.

Bullish for oil, bearish for refiners: the new Chinese refineries coming online are soaking up the excess oil supply that’s been floating on ships for months. This should help oil producers, but is more bad news for beleaguered refiners around the world, as refining output may well become a new weapon in the trade wars.

Two new potential storm threats have popped up on the NHC’s radar today, but both are given just 20% odds of developing, while the system they’ve been watching this week is now given 0% odds.  

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

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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
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.