The Energy Complex Is Taking A Breather Today With ULSD Futures Leading The Way Lower
The energy complex is taking a breather today with ULSD futures leading the way lower. Prompt month heating oil futures are down about 1% this morning, with gasoline and crude oil contracts posting minor losses.
While not really news, its come to mainstream attention that the US hasn’t built a new refinery in over half a century in the public’s latest round of trying to figure out why we are paying so much at the pump. Other salient, and likely more relevant, points that aren’t mentioned are retail gasoline pricing strategy (up like a rocket, down like a feather) and the slew of permanent refinery closures over the last few years.
American crude oil futures are looking to post the largest weekly gain in prices for over a month this week. Seasonal lows in stockpiles and increased refining thruput seems to be taking credit for move.
It will be interesting to see if this year’s driving season will be as busy as anticipated or if the nominally record high gasoline prices will result in a sharp decline in demand. Even if the latter proves to be the case, futures price action may not follow the prescribed path of dropping, given inventory levels are sitting around where we’d expect them to be in the fall, when refineries aren’t running at >90% utilization.