U.S. President Tests Positive For COVID-19

Market TalkFriday, Oct 2 2020
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Big red numbers are flashing across energy and equity markets after the U.S. President and first lady announced they’d tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday night. Financial markets were already jittery this week over the potential negative economic impacts of climbing case counts and an ugly election season, and this news just creates more uncertainty in both areas.

The early wave of selling in petroleum futures sets up a test of the mid-September lows around $1.06-$1.07 for RBOB and ULSD. If prices can hold support, this is likely to be remembered as nothing more than the latest crazy news story in the craziest year any of us can remember. If prices break through that support however, we might look back at this as the catalyst that finally broke the complex out of its four-month-old sideways trading pattern and sent product prices on another extended trip below $1/gallon.

September’s payroll report showed another month of strong job growth in the U.S. as the COVID economic recovery continues. 661,000 jobs were estimated to be added during the month, which took the headline unemployment rate down ½ % to 7.9% while the U-6 rate dropped by 1.4% to 12.8%. Those numbers are good, but still highlight the long road to recovery for the U.S. economy that lays ahead, and were largely ignored based on the lack of price reaction as traders seem preoccupied with the other news of the day. 

That storm system that had been churning in the Caribbean for the past week is now given 90% odds of developing into Tropical Storm Gamma by the weekend according to the NHC. It’s still too soon to say where it will go from there, but it’s likely to enter the Gulf of Mexico next week and yet another Gulf Coast hit is a possibility at this point. An EIA note this morning highlights how Hurricane Laura impacted crude production in the Gulf more than any storm since 2008. The Lake Charles refineries are still trying to recover from Laura’s direct hit, and the last thing they need right now is yet another storm system to complicate those efforts.

Today’s interesting read: A Bloomberg article detailing how JP Morgan manipulated metals and treasury markets, and how they got caught. While this was the big fish caught by the CFTC recently, numerous other announcements in the past week show that the agency has its hands full dealing with other bad actors across numerous markets.

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