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Market Intel Archives

Positive developments help oil prices start lower today than yesterday

September 27, 2013

Refined product prices were higher Thursday, finishing near session highs and completing a three day rally – something we haven’t seen for distillate and gasoline markets for more than a month. 

Despite the rally, prices have only now moved back into overhead chart resistance (the short term 9-day moving averages), and some technical pattern traders will assume this week’s price action is only a temporary correction of the month-long price slide.  Much depends on progress of talks between Iran and the U.S. this week in New York and by extension the Syria negotiations occurring within the Security Council.  Yesterday was the first direct contact between the U.S. and Iran in six years, and press reports seem to indicate Iran has adopted a softer tone – perhaps hinting that a return to more normal crude export levels is desired.  Meanwhile, the five members of the UN Security Council are preparing to vote on a resolution that would eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons and avert a military strike by the U.S.  Both of these positive developments have helped oil prices start today lower than yesterday.  It’s up to the bulls to press through overhead resistance and trigger more technical buying.

WTI crude prices lowest in 12 weeks

September 26, 2013

Refined product prices rallied on Wednesday, although at settlement time prices had backed off levels achieved earlier in the trading session.  ULS Diesel futures for October delivery rose 1.21 cpg to finish at $2.9731, while prices for October delivery of unleaded fuel rose 1.37 cpg to $2.6729.  The DOE’s weekly inventory report showed gasoline inventories up 200,000 barrels for the week ended 9/20, while total distillate inventories were down 200,000 barrels.  Compared to their 5-year average range, gasoline inventories are high, while distillate stocks are low.  For the second time this week WTI crude prices finished opposite their refined brethren, closing at $102.66 per barrel – the lowest crude pricing we’ve seen for 12 weeks.  The DOE reported that crude inventories were up 2.6 million barrels last week, surprising the market, and leaving crude stockpiles near the upper end of their 5-year range.  Iran’s newly elected leader is in New York to visit the UN, and has been giving indications that he is prepared for a shift in Iran’s stance on nuclear negotiations with the West.  Despite this apparently good news, the oil markets so far this morning are once again attempting a rally.  

Traders expect EIA stockpiles to increase

September 25, 2013

Refined product futures prices snapped a three day losing streak on Tuesday, but only after pushing to new 2-month lows early in the trading session.  ULSD futures finished up 48 points to $2.9610, while gasoline prices settled up 3.62 cpg to $2.6592.  WTI crude still managed a negative close Tuesday, but only marginally – settling down 46-cents per barrel at $103.13.  All three contracts have started Wednesday higher, with news reports pointing to an expectation that today’s EIA report will show a decline in petroleum inventories across the board.  Analysts believe that refining run rates have remained high, drawing on crude stockpiles, but product inventories will nonetheless decline.  Despite yesterday’s reversal of the short term trend and this morning’s bounce, prices on the charts still appear to be in a longer term downtrend thanks to an easing of tensions in the Middle East over a US military action against Syria. 

Refined Products Post 2

March 26, 2013
Oil prices rose for the second consecutive day Friday, propelled by supply concerns over reduced North Sea loadings due to unexpected maintenance, and economic optimism generated by new moves by Spain to resolve its debt issues, with a side consequence of boosting the euro. Oil prices rose for the second consecutive day Friday, propelled by supply concerns over reduced North Sea loadings due to unexpected maintenance, and economic optimism generated by new moves by Spain to resolve its debt issues, with a side consequence of boosting the euro. However, that optimism is diminished this morning. Oil prices rose for the second consecutive day Friday, propelled by supply concerns over reduced North Sea loadings due to unexpected maintenance, and economic optimism generated by new moves by Spain to resolve its debt issues, with a side consequence of boosting the euro. However, that optimism is diminished this morning.

Refined Products Post

March 19, 2013
Oil prices rose for the second consecutive day Friday, propelled by supply concerns over reduced North Sea loadings due to unexpected maintenance, and economic optimism generated by new moves by Spain to resolve its debt issues, with a side consequence of boosting the euro. Oil prices rose for the second consecutive day Friday, propelled by supply concerns over reduced North Sea loadings due to unexpected maintenance, and economic optimism generated by new moves by Spain to resolve its debt issues, with a side consequence of boosting the euro. However, that optimism is diminished this morning, with the enthusiasm over planned stimulus measures waning in the face of slow growth in major world economies and the fifth straight monthly drop in German business sentiment indicative that even the Eurozone's strongest economy in a serious downturn.

Market Commentary

March 12, 2013

RINSanity (see below) got its day out of the asylum, with RBOB at one point early up over 6 cents on the day and then trading as low as nearly 7 cents before settling down 511 points. Since as noted yesterday it was really the only sector supporting the complex, it was not surprising that crude and heating oil prices declined after its dramatic reversal, with the overall market influenced by disappointing Chinese economic data, reports of expanded February Saudi production, and a stronger dollar after a Fitch downgrade of Italy's credit rating. The same bearish elements along with estimates for a crude oil build in this week's EIA Report (above) are responsible for this morning's weaker opening.

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Market Commentary

March 08, 2013

Futures prices rose in a late day recovery of earlier losses, attributed to an unexpected drop in US unemployment claims and a weakening dollar and better economic news out of Europe strengthened the euro. This morning's weak opening, except for contrarian gasoline, reflects higher than expected North Sea supply (see comment below) and is attributed to investors moving out of weakening commodities in favor of the buoyant equities market.

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Market Commentary

March 07, 2013

Although heating oil powered back to almost unchanged on the day, Wednesday's market settled broadly lower, breaking at least for a while any expectation that the day before’ s strong gains indicated an end to the three-week downtrend. The slide accelerated after the EIA Weekly Report (Inventory Highlights lower right) showed an unexpectedly large build in crude oil stocks, with a sharply stronger dollar helping the declines. Prices are easing slightly again this morning but there is evidence the slide is slowing, even if a new rally doesn't look imminent.

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Market Commentary

March 06, 2013

Brent ended breaking its five-day losing streak Tuesday, up on indications of increasing Chinese demand, North Sea production issues and a record-breaking Wall Street. As noted yesterday, the oversold market was also ripe for a correction, and no doubt profit taking and bargain hunting played a role as well. This morning's mixed to stronger opening sees support coming from the continuing equities strength, highest since the 2008 financial crisis, but if last night's 5.6 million bbl crude oil build is repeated in today's EIA Report (Estimates above), some of that strength could evaporate.

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Market Commentary

March 05, 2013

Oil prices reached a new 2013 low Monday, weighed down by a combination of indications of slowing economic growth in China, uncertainty in the aftermath of the US "sequestration", deteriorating business sentiment in several eurozone countries and finally further evidence of a comfortably supplied petroleum market. This morning's recovery from the five-day losing streak comes on China's new governments vow to deliver strong economic growth.

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