Quiet Start To End A Wild Week

Market TalkFriday, Sep 20 2019
Quiet Start To End A Wild Week

It’s a quiet start to end a wild week for financial markets around the globe, with oil prices starting the day with modest gains, while refined products are essentially flat on the day after trading higher overnight.

The debates over the Saudi’s ability to restore its oil production, and what they – and the US – might do in retaliation seem to have reached a temporary stalemate causing the lack of prices movement this morning with no new headlines to push the action. Saudi officials continue to claim that their oil production will be fully back online by the end of September, although plenty of doubts from outsiders on their ability to do so.

Although refined product prices look to end the week some 12-15 cents higher, from a technical perspective, the failure this week for prices to break above their May high could be seen as a bearish signal on the long term charts. We’ll need to see prices settle lower to end September to even begin confirming that theory, but at this point, the technical outlook is starting to turn negative with bearish seasonal demand patterns likely to add to the negative sentiment soon.

While most eyes have been focused on the FOMC’s monetary policy, and how the NY FED is handling a bit of panic in the overnight funding market, the Dallas FED released its report on energy indicators this week, noting how employment in the industry continues to decline despite production and exports continuing to climb.

The Beaumont area experienced rainfall on par with Hurricane Harvey from Tropical Storm Imelda this week, and news that the weather was causing refinery issues helped futures to rally in Thursday’s session, although gulf coast basis values seemed to shrug off the news. In addition to the Exxon Beaumont facility, there were numerous other reports of issues at various chemical plants in the area. The good news was none of the other major petroleum refineries seem to have been affected. The bad news is – according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - the Jed Clampett production facility operated by Oxy USA reported an emissions event that will last through this afternoon. There are no updates on how Ellie May is doing.

Forecasts for Hurricane Jerry continue to shift to the North and East, which is good news for the US Coast that’s now well out of the threat cone, but bad news for Bermuda which looks like it will take its 2nd direct hit in a week. Two other tropical systems in the Atlantic are still given low odds of developing by the NHC.

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Gasoline Futures Are Leading The Energy Complex Higher This Morning With 1.5% Gains So Far In Pre-Market Trading

Gasoline futures are leading the energy complex higher this morning with 1.5% gains so far in pre-market trading. Heating oil futures are following close behind, exchanging hands 4.5 cents higher than Friday’s settlement (↑1.3%) while American and European crude oil futures trade modestly higher in sympathy.

The world’s largest oil cartel is scheduled to meet this Wednesday but is unlikely they will alter their supply cuts regimen. The months-long rally in oil prices, however, has some thinking Saudi Arabia might being to ease their incremental, voluntary supply cuts.

Tropical storm Rina has dissolved over the weekend, leaving the relatively tenured Philippe the sole point of focus in the Atlantic storm basin. While he is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by the end of this week, most projections keep Philippe out to sea, with a non-zero percent chance he makes landfall in Nova Scotia or Maine.

Unsurprisingly the CFTC reported a 6.8% increase in money manager net positions in WTI futures last week as speculative bettors piled on their bullish bets. While $100 oil is being shoutedfromeveryrooftop, we’ve yet to see that conviction on the charts: open interest on WTI futures is far below that of the last ~7 years.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.