Another Day Of Heavy Selling In Energy Contracts

Market TalkMonday, Aug 9 2021
Pivotal Week For Price Action

It’s another day of heavy selling in energy contracts, with refined products now down 17 cents or more so far in August. As has been the case for most of the past 18 months, demand fears from the latest rise in COVID cases is taking much of the blame for the latest wave of selling. The charts meanwhile had been hinting for some time that a substantial pullback may be coming after a 9 month rally finally appeared to have stalled out.  

The big test this week looks to be the July lows which WTI has already broken below this morning, putting the contract at risk of a drop to $62 in short order. Refined products still have some work to do to get close to those lows ($1.96 for ULSD and $2.07 for RBOB) which could create a bit of a technical tug of war between crude and its products.

Speaking of which, money managers (aka hedge funds) continue to struggle with timing on refined product trades. The latest CFTC COT report showed funds increasing their net length (bets on higher prices) last week, just in time for the latest round of heavy selling. Distillates in particular look troublesome for the large speculators, as the length held in HO contracts reached a 3 year high last week, and may add to the selling pressure if that length is forced to liquidate by margin calls. The performance in crude oil bets has been better, with WTI net length reaching a 9 month low ahead of this sell-off.

Baker Hughes reported a net increase of 2 oil rigs operating in the US last week, offsetting the drop we saw in the previous week. Don’t expect this stagnation in drilling activity to cause a drop in oil production however, as a Rystad energy report last week detailed that drilled by uncompleted (DUC) wells have dropped to an 8 year low as producers are choosing to work through their backlog before focusing on drilling new wells.

The recent spike in West Coast basis values should be drawing imports of refined products to Northern California and PNW ports, but they may soon find competition from Mexican buyers if a weekend fire at the country’s largest refinery disrupts operations. The country has been walking back its plans to open up its fuel market, trying to give PEMEX back control of the nation’s fuel supply, and events like this fire show that ultimately the country will need outside help.

storm system moving towards the Caribbean is given 70% odds of being named this week, with a good chance that it will head towards Florida, which would keep it east of the oil production and refinery centers in the Gulf of Mexico. A 2nd system right behind the first is given 20% odds of development, and we’ve reached the time of year where it will be rare not to have some system we’ll need to watch daily.

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

Market Update (01A) 8.9.21

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Market TalkMonday, Oct 2 2023

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.

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.