Oil Price War Sparks Biggest Single Day Sell-Off

Market TalkMonday, Mar 9 2020
Correlation Between Energy And Equity Prices Strengthens

The opening salvo of an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has sparked the biggest single day sell-off for oil futures in 29 years. Adding to the negative sentiment is another day of heavy selling in global equity markets, as investors are running scared from potential fallout from the coronavirus.

In an odd twist, the huge sell-off across asset classes just so happens to come on the 11th anniversary of the longest bull market in U.S. stock market history, as stocks finally found a bottom on this day back in 2009. For reference, the S&P 500 was at 665.7 points that day compared to 2,819 currently, and the DJIA bottomed out at 6,419 compared to 24,564 this morning.

Barring a miraculous recovery, it seems like there could be severe fallout from this latest rout, that has quickly moved oil prices from hovering around break-even levels, to four year lows that will certainly end with bankruptcies for some producers.

The Permian basin is the most obvious target as it accounts for more than half of all U.S. drilling activity, and could turn the boom towns of West Texas back into temporary ghost towns like we saw the last time prices crashed. Meanwhile, Baker Hughes reported four more oil rigs were put to work last week, bringing the total count to 682, just below the five year average. Using the last sell-off as a gauge, it’s likely we could see that rig count drop below 400 if prices remain near current levels.

Money managers continued to head for the exits last week, reducing their net length in WTI, Brent and RBOB contracts. Expect to see even more dramatic reductions in this week’s report once today’s melt-down shows up on the data.

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

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Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkFriday, Sep 29 2023

The Energy Bulls Are On The Run This Morning, Lead By Heating And Crude Oil Futures

The energy bulls are on the run this morning, lead by heating and crude oil futures. The November HO contract is trading ~7.5 cents per gallon (2.3%) higher while WTI is bumped $1.24 per barrel (1.3%) so far in pre-market trading. Their gasoline counterpart is rallying in sympathy with .3% gains to start the day.

The October contracts for both RBOB and HO expire today, and while trading action looks to be pretty tame so far, it isn’t a rare occurrence to see some big price swings on expiring contracts as traders look to close their positions. It should be noted that the only physical market pricing still pricing their product off of October futures, while the rest of the nation already switched to the November contract over the last week or so.

We’ve now got two named storms in the Atlantic, Philippe and Rina, but both aren’t expected to develop into major storms. While most models show both storms staying out to sea, the European model for weather forecasting shows there is a possibility that Philippe gets close enough to the Northeast to bring rain to the area, but not much else.

The term “$100 oil” is starting to pop up in headlines more and more mostly because WTI settled above the $90 level back on Tuesday, but partially because it’s a nice round number that’s easy to yell in debates or hear about from your father-in-law on the golf course. While the prospect of sustained high energy prices could be harmful to the economy, its important to note that the current short supply environment is voluntary. The spigot could be turned back on at any point, which could topple oil prices in short order.

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

Pivotal Week For Price Action
Market TalkThursday, Sep 28 2023

Gasoline And Crude Oil Futures Are All Trading Between .5% And .8% Lower To Start The Day

The energy complex is sagging this morning with the exception of the distillate benchmark as the prompt month trading higher by about a penny. Gasoline and crude oil futures are all trading between .5% and .8% lower to start the day, pulling back after WTI traded above $95 briefly in the overnight session.

There isn’t much in the way of news this morning with most still citing the expectation for tight global supply, inflation and interest rates, and production cuts by OPEC+.

As reported by the Department of Energy yesterday, refinery runs dropped in all PADDs, except for PADD 3, as we plug along into the fall turnaround season. Crude oil inventories drew down last week, despite lower runs and exports, and increased imports, likely due to the crude oil “adjustment” the EIA uses to reconcile any missing barrels from their calculated estimates.

Diesel remains tight in the US, particularly in PADD 5 (West Coast + Nevada, Arizona) but stockpiles are climbing back towards their 5-year seasonal range. It unsurprising to see a spike in ULSD imports to the region since both Los Angeles and San Francisco spot markets are trading at 50+ cent premiums to the NYMEX. We’ve yet to see such relief on the gasoline side of the barrel, and we likely won’t until the market switches to a higher RVP.

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