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Bearish Inventory Reports Knock Back Energy Prices

Thursday, Dec 12 2019
Market Talk

It looks like we’re in for more sideways trading after some bearish inventory reports knocked energy prices back into the middle of their 4th quarter trading range. As liquidity begins to dry up ahead of the holidays, it’s looking like energy futures will end the decade on a quiet note, unless something dramatic happens in the US/China trade discussions in the next week.

The OPEC monthly oil market report painted an optimistic picture for the global economy in 2020, after suggesting that the trade-war induced demand constraints appear to have bottomed out. The report also noted that non-OPEC supply growth appears to be slowing, which (on top of the cartel’s planned cut backs) should help balance the global oil market next year.

The DOE’s weekly report had several bearish data points, particularly for refined products, that quickly erased any chance of prices breaking through the top end of their trading range this week. Demand estimates were notably weak, and perhaps troubling to refiners heading into the winter doldrums, although it’s likely that the late Thanksgiving and subsequent winter storms both contributed to make those numbers worse than normal for this time of year.

As predicted by the price of FED fund futures, the FOMC held interest rates steady yesterday, and the following press conference suggests the committee is in no hurry to make any additional monetary policy changes in 2020. That neutral stance created minimal reaction in equity or energy markets.

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