Oil Bounces Back Today, But Talking Heads Say "Not for Long"

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 10, 2015 3:39:01 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Friday saw oil futures tumble again to multi-month lows, with Brent settling at 48.61, and WTI at 43.87 for September. (ULSD closed out at 1.5436, and RBOB at 1.6230 ) on general concerns about the oil glut and dissapointing economic data from China. 

Today however, commodities jumped, presumably on high import data from China and further rumblings from the Fed about an interest hike in September. Brent was up 3% ish to slightly over the $50 benchmark (50.36 for September), and WTI closed up to $44.96. ULSD settled up .0485 to 1.5921 and gas was up .0710 to 1.6940.

However, the analysts and talking heads of the world are cautioning that a sustained rally is unlikely, given that the oil glut concern lingers. Also, part of why prices tumbled so sharply last week (down over 6%) is that more rigs have come back online in the US, which only indicates that high output and growing inventory conditions will continue for the foreseeable future. 

In a nutshell today is being essentially written off as an over optimistic jump off of Chinese import data, just another "dead cat bounce". We should see on Wednesday if they are correct when the inventory reports are released. 

Stay tuned!

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Topics: Brent Crude, oil glut, chinese import levels

Oil Slides on Economic Data, Dragging Stocks Along for the Ride

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 3, 2015 3:02:00 PM

Man grasping his head looking at computer screens

This morning Brent Crude dropped under $50 for the first time in 6 months, and WTI fell below $45/bbl to within $2 of a 6 year low. Shortly after noon, the NYMEX showed ULSD down .0452 cents, and gas down almost 9 (-.0882).

What's going on?

Lackluster economic data out of both China and the US seems to indicate that overall oil demand is unlikely to spike to levels able to compensate for the immense glut of oil we're seeing now. As we've discussed, OPEC and others have kept production at record levels to both retain market share, and attempt to slow production (and therefore competition for market share) by higher cost-of-production nations, most notably, the U.S.

Domestically, S&P Energy stocks dragged that index down in response to falling oil prices. US stock indexes trended downward today across the board on other non-thrilling economic data as well as some major single stock tumbles (Apple, Tyson, Lowe's, etc).Overall data showed consumer spending gains were anemic, labor costs increased, and now we all wait with baited breath for the jobs report due out on Friday. 

Across the pond, the Greek stock market re-opened today and promptly tumbled almost 30%, essentially reigniting concerns about the stability of the Eurozone and the odds that the Greek debt deals in their current iterations will solve the ongoing debt crisis. (They ended up rebounding to cap out about a 16% loss on the day)

The data from China this morning was arguably the main catalyst for the drop today, as all eyes were focused on their manufacturing reporting to show a gain, but it instead showed a major slow down. Chinese economic growth had been essentially the last hope for demand ramping up and stemming the price sliding. Traders and Investors have been looking for signs to confirm their hopes of a positive second half of the year in terms of growth, and today's data essentially put those hopes to rest.

At the close, September ULSD dropped -.0584 to 1.5305, RBOB dropped -.0975 to 1.6745. WTI closed out at $45.17. Last prints for Brent are 49.54-50.17 range. 

Stay Tuned!

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Topics: Greece, Brent Crude, OPEC, NYMEX, Chinese Industrial Output, wti

EIA Projections for 2015 & 2016 Released Today

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jun 9, 2015 3:05:31 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

The EIA released its Short Term Energy Outlook today with its projections for both Crude prices and US Crude Oil production through 2016. It also projects where we will be on retail gasoline, natural gas storage, and electricity for 2015 & 2016.

In a nutshell, the outlook is as follows:

  • Brent is expected to average $61/bbl for 2015 and $67/bbl in 2016. The prior projected price for Brent in 2016 was $70/bbl
  • WTI is also forecast to drop about $3 dollars from the prior projection level for 2016. It forecasts WTI for 2015 to be up about a dollar higher than prior projections (up to $55.35/bbl)
  • Crude production is expected to dwindle slightly through early 2016, but the total projected volumes were revised up slightly - the new projected numbers are 9.4mmbpd in 2015 and 9.3mmbpd in 2016
  • Natural gas injections are expected to continue to climbing over their historic highs through 2016.
  • Retail gasoline is expected to decline slightly through the end of the year, backing off its current yearly high. 
  • Additionally, for consumers, the EIA is projecting an almost 5% increase in electricity bills for this summer season.

Other mentions of note, Brent saw its highest monthly average of 2015 in May, a $5 jump over its April average price. Retail gasoline also hit its high for the year in May. All of this despite inventory builds and OPEC production levels remaining at highs. 

The EIA Inventory Report publishes tommorow morning, we'll have to see how that impacts the NYMEX. Hopefully its an easier day than today, where we saw ULSD jump up .0631 to settle at 1.9179, and RBOB jumped .0696 to 2.0771 at the close. 

Stay tuned!

 

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Topics: natural gas, EIA, Brent Crude, WTI Crude, retail gasoline, US Crude Production

Goldman Sachs Cuts Price Forecast for Oil: Projects $75/bbl Benchmark

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 27, 2014 4:38:05 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Goldman Sachs has revised its projected oil prices for 2015 to $75/bbl for WTI and $85/bbl for Brent Crude, in response to ramped up supplies and slow projected global economic growth. 

Production from the US, Brazil, and the Gulf is projected to increase almost 1 million bpd, combined, and OPEC production is assumed to remain more or less stable - with gains in Iraqi production and drops in Libyan output essentially cancelling one another out. 

Like wev'e talked about, OPEC may curb production to offset the decline at some point, and analysts seem to think 75 may be the price point at which US shale production slows and spurs OPEC to drop production. Its unlikely they will make major moves until US production shows signs of slowing against low margins, or thats the prevailing theory, anyway. 

Oil was down today on that and other ho-hum economic news, and stocks fell in tandem. Europe settled 2.2 billion in bond purchases today in a preventative move against deflation, and the re-election of Brazilian President Rouseff reversed the hope some had that the country would move in a more positive, business-friendly direction. 

On the NYMEX, ULSD closed off -.0066 and gas settled out at 2.11702, down -.0115 for the day. 

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Topics: Goldman Sachs, Brent Crude, OPEC, WTI Crude, stock market, shale

OPEC Chatter Drives up BRENT, Friday Trading Reverses CRUDE Rally

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 24, 2014 1:52:54 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Thursday saw prices tick up after it was reported that the Saudi's output dropped from 9.69 million barrels to 9.36 million barrels. There has been some chatter and concern around the scheduled OPEC meeting in November. The concern being that OPEC will push curbing supply to stop the price declines we've seen in recent months. Brent Crude was up 3% on the news, the highest its been in 4 months.

However, despite the OPEC chatter, the Saudi's have said they will keep output at scheduled high levels even with lower pricing to maintain market share. Additionally, reportedly only a small number of members have suggested supply curbing.

US Inventories surged on this weeks EIA report as well, up 7.1 million barrels to a little over 377 million barrels, which was about twice what analysts predicted, and hopefully helps to calm some of the potentially unfounded fear of OPEC that's pushing volatility. 

If we look back, the 20% drop in crude pricing we've seen over the past several months have been directly related to an abundance of supply, and with US oil production surging ahead, and the Saudi's not indicating they will initiate any sort of hold back to drive prices up, the situation remains the same and the volatility should back off. However, it's possible that some roller coastering will remain until after the meeting, when its officially settled whether or not we have to worry about supply curbing. 

The market seems to concur today, though, with both Brent and WTI trending back downwards.

ULSD & RBOB are trending down on the NYMEX today as well, down about a penny and a half on both at the moment. Both products closed up significantly yesterday - ULSD +.0256 to 2.499 and gas up +.0513 to 2.2069, which effectively cancelled out Wednesdays drops of .0398 and .0578, for those keeping score at home.

 

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Topics: Brent Crude, CRUDE, RBOB, OPEC, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, ulsd

Retail & Market Prices Drop on Crude Supply & Pricing

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 8, 2014 1:44:23 PM

Fuel pump filling up a commuter car

EIA weekly petroleum report showed inventory gains across the board.

Analysts had expected much smaller builds in CRUDE than the actuals, and had anticipated drops in both gasoline and distillate inventories - neither of which came to fruition. (Who are these "analysts" anyways - not even CLOSE, guys!)

  • CRUDE: inventories jumped 5 million barrels. (Expectation was a build of 1.9 million barrels)
  • Gasoline: inventories jumped 1.2 million barrels, while the EIA showed a drop in consumption of 1.3%. (Analysts had anticipated a 900K barrel drop)
  • Distillates: inventories were up 400K barrels. Both production and consumption levels dropped for distillates. (Analysts had antipated a 1.2 million barrel drop) 

Retail gasoline prices in the US have been trending downward big time, spurred on by the drop in CRUDE prices, as well as weakening demand. The reported average for last week was 3.41/gal in September which is almost 30 cents below the average price 4 months ago. AAA is reporting that the current average gasoline price is $3.267 - a little over 8 cents a gallon cheaper than this time last year. 

Lower global demand, high supply, and a bleak global economic outlook (we're looking at you Europe) dropped Brent Crude to lows we havent seen in years - September was the first time Brent traded under $100/bbl in 2 years, and last week saw Brent hit $92, close to a 27 month low.

WTI is trading down as well, having broken through several resistance levels, and hit $86.20 after the EIA report hit this morning. (At the moment its -1.53 to 87.32 on the electronics)   

The NYMEX is trending down today again, currently ULSD is down over 3 cents (-.0326 to 2.5747) and RBOB is down over 4. (-.0466 to 2.3217)

Stay Tuned!

 

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Topics: European Economy, Brent Crude, Gasoline demand drop, CRUDE, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, retail gasoline

Commodities, Stocks and Consumer Confidence Drop

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 30, 2014 4:16:50 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

November traded down huge today on the NYMEX with ULSD closing down -.0577 to 2.6505, and RBOB closing down -.0769 to 2.4373. October trading ended today, with the month closing ULSD at 2.6472 and RBOB at 2.5869. 

Analysts are predicting a supply build ahead of the EIA data due out tommorow in the neighborhood of 1.5 million barrels on CRUDE. Like we mentioned last week, the stable to increasing supply levels domestically have been a huge factor in keeping prices less volatile globally, in spite of the global insanity happening right now, especially surrounding the air strikes against ISIS.

US Supply is growing, and concerns over Libya's production are waning since they've been hitting production targets, so supply disruption in Iraq becomes an increasingly less catastrophic possibility. US import declines too serve to "free up" global supply for others, which let's everyone relax a little on potential disruptions. 

Brent and WTI are both poised to hit their biggest quarterly declines in 2 years.

The dollar strengthened for the quarter, surging up 7% - the biggest gain for a single quarter since 2008. As we've seen historically, a strong dollar can soften commodity prices, and thats probably another factor in the pullback we've seen. The dollar also impacted stocks this week, causing them to stumble hard Monday, despite increases in consumer spending reported. The concern is that the Fed is winding down its tapering and may hike interest rates in the near future if the economy is advancing and the dollar strengthening - this kind of speculation on the Fed almost always has a ripple of sell offs surrounding it, like we saw earlier this year. 

Stocks went lower today on the backs of energy stocks pushed lower on the dropping prices, and dissapointing consumer confidence index numbers. 

 

 

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Topics: Brent Crude, FED rates, Dollar Strengthens, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, ISIS, stock market

Iraqi Turmoil Rocks the NYMEX

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jun 12, 2014 3:57:00 PM

Map of Iraq with factions of the country highlighted

(Image credit: US EIA via Bloomberg Visual Data - Bloomberg Businessweek 6-12-14)

Both Brent and WTI shot up 2% today on last nights news that ISIS insurgents in Iraq captured Tikrit and Baiji, and were continuing their march towards Bahgdad.If you were watching the screen, you also saw ULSD shoot up .085 to 2.9893 and RBOB hit 3.0837, up .0829 on the day in reaction. 

Iraqi production levels have been stable around 3 million barrels per day, making Iraq OPECs second largest producer (behind Saudi Arabia) - so the supply concerns we're seeing push prices up at this intensity level are not unfounded. 

Essentially all of Iraq's oil production comes from the southern, Shia portion of the country by Basra, (see map from Bloomberg above)  where militant influence is essentially non existant (at least in comparison) - so some speculate that even should the Baiji refinery or additional cities fall, actual supply is unlikely to be affected as the area is well guarded and safe. However, it pays to keep in mind that no one saw Mozul or Tikrit being as vulnerable as they apparently were - the invasion of Mozul saw over 500,000 people flee the city in 12 hours, including basically the entire coalition of American-trained Iraqi security forces because of the level of violence and choas that erupted. It's less likely that would happen further south, given the relatively small insurgent force and the steeper odds they would face in terms of fighting back - but its certainly not an entirely unreasonable fear. 

The Obama administration has stated they are "considering all options" - air strikes, drones, etc but have not made a decision at this time. It would seem unlikely that an attempt to garner public support for re-entrance to Iraq would be an easy (or possible) task, all things considered. Ironically, the air strikes on Syria that  the administration faced such backlash for last year were directed at stopping the violence in the area that involved ISIS - the same group now surging in Iraq. Not a good sign for approval for Iraqi strikes. Thus far neither the UN or US has said they will step in to aid the Iraqi government - a fact that it certainly not easing concerns in the market, one would think.

In the grand scheme, considering price volatility and levels as a whole, we're fortunate that some areas (like the US) have seen production booms that have offset some of the drop offs from OPEC nations (mainly Libya) as its helped keep prices overall more stable - the jump in 2012 for example would probably have shot way past a 2% spike. If supply gets disrupted in Iraq though, given its the second largest OPEC producer, that may cease to be the case, which is probably the more far reaching concern pushing prices than isolated fighting would on its own. 

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Topics: Brent Crude, RBOB, OPEC, WTI Crude, Iraq

BREAKING - Iraq Escalates - Militants Seize Tikrit, Target Baiji Oil Refinery

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jun 11, 2014 3:05:34 PM

Map of Iraq

(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons 18:57 June 11 2014)

CNN is reporting that ISIS (the Al Qaeda breakoff group that seized Mozul, Iraq yesterday) has gained "nearly complete control of the Northern city of Tikrit" - Parts of the town of Baiji have reportedly been seized as well - this is the site of the largest oil refinery in Iraw. At the moment the Baiji Oil Refinery is reportedly still under Iraqi military control but seizure of the town raises both international relations issues and supply concerns. If militants seize the refinery expect to see chaos in the markets.

You can follow the story in depth  on Reuters here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/11/us-iraq-security-idUSKBN0EM11U20140611 

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Topics: Brent Crude, Baiji Refinery, Iraq, ISIS

OPEC, Iraq, Inventories & Political Upsets Rattle Wall Street & Commodity Prices

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jun 11, 2014 2:41:06 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

First the usual news - US Crude Supplies once again dropped (to 386.9 million) and more importantly perhaps, Cushing levels dropped again as well. Cushing stocks are down 49% since the Keystone's lower leg started moving its supply to Gulf Coast Refineries. WTI has been climbing steadily the past couple days, and some analysts are predicting WTI hits $105 soon. (Hopefully not!) We also saw gasoline and ULSD up between 0.6-0.9% throughout the day with the intraday high for gasoline hitting 3.0021 and ULSD's intraday high hitting 2.9027.

Brent was up as well on production announcements from OPEC, and an Al Qaeda affiliated group's seizure of the city of Mozul in Iraq. OPEC kept their production target the same, despite the growing fighting. The obvious concern with Iraq is that increased fighting will further disrupt supply. Currently, all exports from the country (a little over 3 million barrels per day) have to go by tanker through the Persian Gulf - the main pipeline that runs from Kirkuk to Turkey has been closed since March. The capture of Mozul and the uptick in violence in the area has caused repairs to the pipeline to be suspended completely at this point. Further supply disruptions are basically a 50-50 proposition at this point, which is making the European markets understandably nervous, and pushing Brent prices up. 

In Virginia, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor got blindsided by his Tea Party primary challenger in an upset that literally no one saw coming. Bloomberg News noted today that there is some serious concern among Wall Streeters, as Cantor was generally seen as an ally for them in the Republican party - supporting TARP and the Export-Import Bank, etc. Wall Street appears to be concerned about potential gridlock in Washington going forward if this primary is an indication of how November may shape up, especially given the debt ceiling issue looms large again in March. (Incidentally, gridlock in Washington is probably good news for the rest of us!) At any rate, between the political upset, and the World Bank revising growth expectations down (specifically for the US) stocks drew back, with utility, industrial and financial stocks the most impacted. 

 

 

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Topics: Brent Crude, Brent vs WTI, World Bank, Iraq, Eric Cantor, Wall Street

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