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Energy Futures Hit Multi-Month Lows

Thursday, Jan 23 2020
Market Talk

The meltdown goes on as swelling inventory levels, demand fears and perhaps more long liquidation combine to push energy futures to multi-month lows. ULSD futures are once again leading the slide, trading to their lowest levels in five months overnight.

The API was said to report more inventory builds across the board last week, with refined product inventories increasing 4.5 million barrels for gasoline and 3.5 million barrels for distillates, while U.S. oil stocks were up 1.5 million barrels. Those builds seem to be contributing to the early round of selling, and don’t seem conducive to helping crack spreads find a bottom, although RBOB futures are down the least on the day, even though gasoline inventories built the most. The DOE’s report is due out at 11 a.m. Eastern.

Speaking of which, the EIA this morning highlighted its forecasts for rapidly increasing exports of natural gas in the coming years, thanks in large part to new cross-border pipelines into Mexico.

Three Chinese cities were placed on travel lock-down leaving many to wonder just how much further this outbreak might spread, and others to wonder how they’re going to find their beach now.

While futures are getting crushed this week, basis levels in the Gulf and west coasts are showing signs of life as numerous refinery maintenance issues (both planned and unplanned) are taking place. As the chart below shows, the rally in USGC basis levels has crushed values for space on the Colonial pipeline, consistent with a typical seasonal pattern for this time of year.

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