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Oil And Gasoline Prices Are Seeing Modest Losses This Morning

Friday, Apr 22 2022
Market Talk

Oil and gasoline prices are seeing modest losses this morning, which are being blamed on demand fears coming from China and a hawkish FED, while distillates are seeing modest gains after Thursday’s big drop.

Crude oil prices would end the week with a loss if they settle near current values, but they did manage a higher high and higher low on the charts, and didn’t threaten the bullish trend line which keeps the door open for higher prices to come. It’s a similar story for distillates, which have stalled out since racing to $4 once they broke out of their triangle pattern, but are still leaving the door open to higher prices in the near future. Gasoline meanwhile looks the weakest both fundamentally and technically, even though we’re just around the corner from the annual parade of “driving season” headlines that come right about when prices actually peak for the season. 

Comments from the FED Chair all but guaranteed a 50 point rate increase at the May 4 meeting, and set the stage for even larger increases in the next 3 months. Looking at the CME’s Fedwatch tool that analysis activity in FED fund futures, a month ago, there was a 0% probability that the FED would raise the target rate to 2 percent by July, and today that probability is at 95%.

Reports from China suggest the country’s oil demand is dropping 20% in April due to the Shanghai lockdowns, which is actually kind of scary when you think if where prices might be had the world’s largest importer not been shutting down for the past month.

Meanwhile, another report based on satellite data of Russian oil fields gives another reminder that the country’s output is just now starting to decline more dramatically as the deals struck before the invasion of Ukraine are now running out. Many refiners in the country were already forced to slash rates or shut down completely due to a lack of outlets for their product, reducing total output by 15% or more since the start of the war.   

A Dallas FED study this week took a closer look at the OPEC & Friends supply gap as the cartel has been unable to meet its oil output quota for several months. The report highlights how “…infrastructure issues and the difficulty of attracting sufficient investment to offset production declines at existing wells...[mean] many OPEC+ countries are unable to take advantage of the higher production quotas they will receive under the group’s agreement.” 

If you’ve tried to buy a car in the past year you probably know it’s not just oil output that’s struggling with infrastructure issues and supply bottlenecks, a report this week highlights how numerous renewable energy projects are facing similar hurdles, creating a growing backlog of projects that are delayed, some of which will likely eventually fall by the wayside as a result.

A Reuters article this morning highlights the shifts US refiners are making to maximize diesel output when they would traditionally favor gasoline, and gives another reminder why inland refiners are having a much harder time finding a home for their production than coastal facilities.

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