American Crude Oil Benchmark Extended Losing Streak

Market TalkFriday, Nov 9 2018
American Crude Oil Benchmark Extended Losing Streak

The American crude oil benchmark extended its record losing streak to a 12 days in a big way Tuesday, posting losses close to $4 and dragging down refined products along the way. Both gas and diesel futures got a 10 cent haircut yesterday, losses of around 5% for each contract.

Yesterday’s price action brought RBOB down to the lowest level in over a year, capping off total losses of 65 cents for the prompt contract over the past 2 months. The HO contract wiped out just under 35 cents in the same time period, kept somewhat afloat by tight national supplies and the possibility of demand increases with the cooler weather.

The premiums over Colonial Pipeline tariffs spiked yesterday, representing an increased economic incentive to ship product up the main refined products artery of the United States. The difference between physical prices in Houston and New York spurred values to their highest levels since Q1 of this year. Premiums for shipping up both the gas and diesel line are currently just under 3 cents.

The weekly inventory report published by the Departments of Energy will be delayed this week due to Monday being Veterans’ Day, data will be published tomorrow at 10am central instead.

It looks like ‘capitulation’ was the name of the game yesterday as any remaining players with long bets in energy futures opted to wipe the board and start over. The complex is bouncing this morning, with the most pronounced gains shown in the ULSD contract at 4 cents over yesterday’s settlement. Gas and crude oil are lagging behind but still participating, both are tacking on 1% to start the day.

The charts are looking to take a breather over the next few sessions, recovering from the support-busting action that took place yesterday. Expect some sideways patterns going into the first round of holidays next week while traders try to figure out which way this thing needs to go next.

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American Crude Oil Benchmark Extended Losing Streak

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So far it appears that Motiva Pt. Arthur is the only refinery that experienced a noteworthy upset from the storms that swept across the southern half of the country this week. Those storms also delayed the first round of the Masters, which matters more to most traders this week than the refinery upset.

Chevron’s El Segundo refinery in the LA-area reported an unplanned flaring event Thursday, but the big moves once again came from the San Francisco spot market that saw diesel prices rally sharply to 25 cent premiums to futures. The Bay Area now commands the highest prices for spot gasoline and diesel as the conversion of 1 out of the 4 remaining refineries to renewable output is not-surprisingly creating disruptions in the supply chain.

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

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Diesel Prices Continue To Be The Weak Link In The Energy Chain

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OPEC’s monthly oil market report held a steady outlook for economic growth and oil demand from last month’s report, noting the healthy momentum of economic activity in the US. The cartel’s outlook also highlighted significant product stock increases last month that weighed heavily on refining margins, particularly for diesel. Given the US focus on ULSD futures that are deliverable on the East Coast, which continues to have relatively tight supply for diesel, it’s easy to overlook how quickly Asian markets have gotten long on distillates unless of course you’re struggling through the slog of excess supply in numerous west coast markets these days. The OPEC report noted this in a few different ways, including a 33% decline in Chinese product exports as the region simply no longer needs its excess. The cartel’s oil output held steady during March with only small changes among the countries as they hold to their output cut agreements.

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Click here to download a PDF of today's TACenergy Market Talk, including all charts from the Weekly DOE Report.

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