U.S. Equity Markets Hold Their Breath

Market TalkFriday, Dec 18 2020
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U.S. equity markets are holding near all-time highs and energy futures continue to trade around 9 month highs, but they all seem to be holding their breath a bit this morning as a congressional deadline approaches, and an electric car maker debuts in the S&P 500 index, both events that could create some short term volatility.

There’s been a dramatic shift in the forward curves for crude oil and diesel contracts during the 7 week rally (charts below). The flip to backwardation from contango for crude oil is seen as a sign of a rebalancing market by some, but others will note that this change will also take the storage play buyers out of the market.  

The forward curve for gasoline hasn’t changed much during this time, but January RBOB futures have managed to rally to a premium over February this week, which is a bit of a head scratcher with PADD 1 inventories swelling well above their typical seasonal range. That tick higher could have been driven by traders rolling out of positions early due to the upcoming holidays, and the lack of liquidity that typically accompany them. It also could be tied to concerns over supply disruptions from the worst winter storm to hit the region in several years this week, although it appears that there were not any notable supply issues caused by that system.

D6 ethanol RIN values pushed to a new 3 year high Thursday, continuing the upward momentum since the election. Michael Regan, currently the head of North Carolina’s department of Environmental Quality has reportedly been selected to run the EPA under the new administration. While the markets seem to be making clear bets that the new administration will be tougher on refiners than the current EPA, Mr. Regan’s record, and current location seem to be a relatively neutral in the sense that neither he or his state are major players in the Big Ag vs. Big Oil battle also known as the RFS.

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

TACenergy MarketTalk 121820

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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.

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