Meltdown Continues For Energy Futures

Market TalkTuesday, Jun 4 2019
Hurricane Expected To Make Landfall

The meltdown continues for energy futures as Brent crude and ULSD are trading at their lowest levels since January, and the rest of the complex isn’t far behind as we mark a 5th straight day of heavy selling. RBOB gasoline is once again the weakest contract to start, and is closing the gap in its chart left behind from the Spring RVP transition, trading 38 cents below where it was less than 3 weeks ago.

Recession concerns continue to take blame for the recent weakness in energy markets, along with a statement from Russia that it’s not yet ready to commit to more output cuts – contradicting a statement from the Saudi’s that helped prices find a short-lived bid Monday morning. This sell-off has reached the point where numerous short term technical indicators are in over-sold territory, meaning we’re due for a corrective bounce whenever fear stops driving the train. On the other hand, there was still a large amount of speculative longs – particularly in RBOB and Brent – that may be getting forced out as we speak, which could extend the slide much further.

The tropical system churning over the western edge of the Gulf of Mexico is now given only a 40% chance of developing into a storm this week, although it could still bring heavy rain to Texas and Louisiana.

Ethanol & RIN values did not react much to Friday’s news that the EPA was officially allowing an RVP waiver so that E15 blends could be sold through the summer, and that new RIN reporting requirements would be put into place. Both changes had been widely expected based on preliminary notices, and the RIN requirements were less stringent than some other proposals that would have limited who could trade and how long RINs could be held. Ethanol prices are holding near their highest levels in a year as the outlook for farming this year looks pretty dismal, but prices have actually dipped since the EPA announcement.

An EIA note this morning details the growth of hydrocarbon liquids like Propane and Ethane in recent years, coinciding with the rapid increase in natural gas and oil production, and shows how these “other” liquids are becoming the unsung hero of US energy export revolution.

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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.

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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.

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