Rising Inventory And Falling Stocks

Market TalkThursday, May 23 2019
Gasoline And Diesel Contracts Trying To Lead Energy Complex Higher

Rising inventory and falling stocks continue to push energy futures lower this week, with WTI trading below $60 for the first time since March overnight, and on pace for its biggest weekly sell-off of the year. A flurry of concerns over European elections and the US/China trade war seem to be sparking a wave of “risk-off” selling that’s hitting numerous asset classes, and some bearish data from the DOE’s weekly report is certainly not helping energy commodities resist the pull lower.

This latest round of selling has tipped short term technical indicators into bearish territory, but unless we see a break and hold below the May lows, it’s too early to say that a trend is forming, and this could just be the latest swing in a choppy market. Both WTI and ULSD broke their May lows overnight, so there is certainly a chance we could get that breakdown yet this week, although it seems less likely since futures often tend to drift higher ahead of a holiday weekend.

US crude oil stocks reached their highest levels since July 2017 last week, even though exports of US crude are holding just under 3 million barrels/day. Refinery throughput rates remain below-average, while output remains just shy of record levels at 12.2 million barrels/day.

Total US petroleum demand is a bit troubling as well for US producers as the past 2 weeks have seen estimates below their seasonal 5 year average, as both gasoline and diesel consumption seems to be lagging in May. If we see a spike in those figures over the coming weeks, the soft reports will be written off to the challenges of estimating demand week by week, but if not, these reports could be the early warning of slowing activity in the US.

The EIA published a new note this morning detailing the issues that caused retail gasoline prices in California to spike north of $4, for the first time in almost 5 years. The good news for consumers on the West Coast is we’ve already seen basis values drop 30-40 cents as refineries come back online and imports are received. With last week’s imports r reaching an 8 year high, it seems like we might see prices continue to decline, unless of course there’s another rash of refinery trouble.

From that report:

The West Coast is isolated by both geography and a lack of petroleum infrastructure connections to the rest of the United States. In addition, California requires a different gasoline specification than the rest of the country, further narrowing resupply options. These restrictions mean that after drawing down in-region inventories, the next available resupply is through imports from refineries in Asia or Europe.

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Pivotal Week For Price Action
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.