Will Crude Break $30? Will RBOB follow ULSD Below $1?

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jan 13, 2016 4:14:35 PM

Picture of a man grasping his head looking at computer screens

Yesterday, Crude briefly dipped below $30 per barrel for the first time in 12 years, before closing slightly over at $30.34. Crude was up on the overnights, as a result of the API forecast projecting draws of close to 4mmb.

The EIA report this morning, however, quickly reversed the market trajectory when it showed a build of 230K barrels. A modest increase, but the market registered it as significant in the face of the projected draws - at least initially.

At the close, Crude was essentially flat, up slightly to $30.48/bbl.

Despite the slight edge up today, so far Crude is still down almost 15% since the end of 2015.

On the refined products side, analysts correctly projected builds in gasoline - sort of. The expectation was a build of 1.6mmb but EIA data indicated an astounding build of 8.4mmb which sent RBOB tumbling, especially as it comes on the heels of last weeks 10.6mmb build.

On top of product builds, gasoline consumption is down a little over 4% compared to this time last year, which is also weighing on RBOB. At the close today, gas was down over 3, settling out at $1.0528.

Two weeks ago the debate was would RBOB break $1.10 - now it looks like the question over the next week or so could very well be "will RBOB follow ULSD below a dollar?"

Distillates showed a build of 6.1mmb as well, and this on the heels of ULSD dropping below $1 on the screen, following its drop on the cash markets. Tuesday broke the $1 level - closing down .0248 to $0.9901, and today ULSD shed another 2 to settle at $0.9694.

In addition to the build, distillate consumption was reported as being down 12% versus this time last year, partially as a reflection of the precipitous drop in heating oil usage due to our unseasonably warm weather.

On a macro level, the Chinese economy continues to stumble, and US stocks continue to get battered as they essentially have been since the opening bell of 2016. Today, as of writing, the Dow is down over 300 points, the Nasdaq is down triple digits as well, and the S&P is officially in correction.

Additionally, as mentioned before, the ongoing standoff between the Saudi's and Iranians after severing diplomatic ties ensures that at least for the time being, OPEC production will remain at record levels. Add in the unseasonably warm weather and the drops in demand/consumption across the board, and all of the sudden that "crazy" projection by some that we could see oil in the $20's doesn't seem so crazy after all.

 

Read More

Topics: CRUDE, RBOB, NYMEX, EIA Inventories, ulsd, $30 barrel

Stocks & Oil Markets Take a Wild Ride Into 2016

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jan 6, 2016 3:25:23 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

The last day of trading in 2014 saw Crude close out at $53.27/bbl, which was down 45% from the prior year. 2015 continued the trend with WTI dropping another 30% over the year - with December 31, 2015 settling out at $37.04.

This week we crashed down through the $35-36 dollar support levels and are rapidly approaching the next one of $32.50/bbl after todays tumble resulted in Crude closing out at $33.97/bbl.

Let's take a step back and look at what went on this week to push oil prices down 8% since December 31st.

Monday, January 4th, markets initially shot up with ULSD and RBOB both jumping over a nickel by 10am (+.0516 and +.0576, respectively), before almost immediately changing course - both products were down by noon to flat on ULSD and only up .0156 on gas. So what happened?

Monday brought the news that the Saudi's had cut all diplomatic ties with Iran and ordered all Iranian diplomats to leave the country within 24 hours. This was in response to the Kingdom executing 47 people over the New Years weekend, including and most importantly, a renowned Shiite cleric, which prompted riots and vandalism to the Saudi embassies in Iran and Bahrain. 

As the day went on however, the analysis of the story moved from fear of international conflict bumping up cost over supply disruptions, to the realization that the standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia meant that this could essentially be the death knell for OPEC. As far as the bears see it, this breakdown of relations essentially guarantees the Saudis will not take any moves to cut production in order to stabilize pricing, because to do so would greatly help Iran, in that the newly allowed exports they promise to flood the markets with would generate them much more revenue. 

Economic data from China Monday supports the bears as well. It was a factor in pushing down oil prices, as well as being responsible for crushing European markets and resulting in the single worst year opening for the Dow Jones since 1932. Overnight, Chinese stocks crashed over 7% and led to a halt in trading across the board - a halt that didnt come soon enough not to pummel stocks internationally. One can only hope the old Wall Street adage "As goes January, so goes the year" is wrong this time. 

There was some bouncing around Tuesday, particularly on the overnights as investors and analysts weighed the API projections that predicted draws in Crude stocks to be announced Wednesday. However, today's EIA report showed just the opposite, and swiftly tanked the market across the board. At the close, ULSD lost -.0446 to settle at 1.0807, RBOB shed almost ten cents (-.0949) to close at 1.1618 (very close to the $1.10 support level) and Crude settled down $2 at $33.97.

What next? Bears are predicting oil hits and potentially breaks through the $32.50 support level for a brief stint in the upper 20's ($28 range), while the Bulls are predicting a jump back to the $37 level. We shall see. 

Stay Tuned!

 

Read More

Topics: Iran, EIA, CRUDE, OPEC, API report, FED rates

The Bears Have It - EIA Report Slashes Tuesday's Gains

Posted by Kelly Burke on Nov 4, 2015 3:22:39 PM

Downwards aiming arrow with the terms WTI, Oil and Brent inside of it

Today's EIA Inventory Report indicated that Crude Inventories were up 2.8 million barrels for the week ending October 30th, and the market reacted accordingly. API had forecast a build as well, so prior to the EIA release we were trending down about 1%, which accelerated to over 3% once the official numbers came out. 


A few interesting notes about the build - it occurred due to a domestic production increase of 48,000 bpd to 9.16 million bpd. This increase happened despite the Baker Hughes announcement that rig counts dropped another 16 to the lowest level since 2010, and despite US imports falling to their lowest weekly level since 1991. (Down to 6.4 million barrels per day, if you're keeping score at home.)

It also happened despite the fact that every single issue that spiked the market yesterday is still very much in play. The Libyan port is still closed under occupation. The Brazilians are still on strike at PetroBras. The Colonial pipeline's Houston facility is still flooded and not allowing any deliveries or originations to occur. (You can get a recap of yesterday here: Monday sinks on Demand, Tuesday Surges on Supply )

And yet here we are, narrowly missing a complete reversal of yesterdays surge across the board. 

Gasoline was projected to show a 1 million barrel drop, but instead dropped 3.3 million barrels - yet RBOB settled down -.0536, not quite erasing yesterday's 7 cent jump but coming close, considering the drop in inventory should in theory have pushed gas further ahead. 

Distillates did the reverse of gasoline stocks - they were projected to drop 1.8 million barrels, but instead dropped 1.3. ULSD closed down .0625 to 1.5035, more than erasing yesterday's jump of just under 6 cents. 

The October Jobs report is likely the next major news for the market, due out Friday. Maybe we will get lucky and get a breather tommorow. One can always hope. 

 

Read More

Topics: RBOB tumbles, CRUDE, EIA Inventories, oil glut, Jobs Report

Crude ends the Week in the Red on Strong Dollar, Supply

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 23, 2015 2:52:47 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Crude prices are on track to be down around 5% on the week. There were some initial jumps this morning on hope that the newly announced Chinese Stimulus Package could ramp up demand. Prices reversed sharply and quickly, however, as the dollar continues to crush other currencies, which almost universally sends commodities in general on a slide. 

On Wednesday prices touched near 3 week lows on the EIA reporting yet another gain in US Inventories, despite our being into the typical "slow down" phase, when refineries go offline for maintainance, and despite continuing drops in rig counts (and therefore a theoretical drop in production).

Also, on Wednesday morning we still had a sliver of hope that the OPEC meeting would come out with supply cuts - nope, wrong again. Now we will have to wait until the December 4th policy meeting of OPEC to know for sure if there will be supply cuts, but it seems extremely unlikely to most-  as the Saudi's have demonstrated, their main goal is market share retention, and they seem to accept that the crumbling economies of other oil producing countries is essentially a cost of doing business (much to the chagrin of those countries).

However, Bloomberg and others are reporting that the low pricing is starting to hurt for Saudi Arabia as well, as reportedly they have deferred payments to government contractors as the country begins to slide into a deficit. (Excellent read on MarketWatch on the subject here: "Will fiscal pain of low prices force Saudi Arabia's hand ). 

Thursday saw a quick reversal, but again, that's history now on the back of the dollar. The European Central Bank stated they are looking at "options" for economic stimulus for the Eurozone, which thus far has only really pushed the euro lower versus the dollar, and weighed on Crude and other commodities. 

At the close today, WTI settled the week at 44.60, and Brent at 48.02. (ULSD closed down -.0106 on the day to 1.4544 and RBOB was down slightly by -.0031 to 1.3036)

Read More

Topics: European Economy, CRUDE, OPEC, Dollar Strengthens, brent, wti

Crude Rallies Again on Escalation in Syria & Uncertainty in Iran

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 8, 2015 3:38:13 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Crude came back in a big way in trading today – with intraday highs briefly breaking $50 before settling out at $49.43/bbl. (Fun fact – we haven’t seen WTI break $50 since July)

ULSD and RBOB rallied as well, with ULSD closing up (+.0222) to 1.6018 and RBOB up (+.0178) to 1.4078.

It appears that yesterday’s inventory-induced drops were a one-time thing, and the market has shifted its focus to escalation in Syria.

On Wednesday Russia launched its first round of naval assaults on Syria, and today saw more airstrikes. Of note, in one of today’s campaigns, the Russians reportedly fired 26 Cruise missiles at Syrian targets. Reportedly however, at least 4 of them hit Iran instead. Yes, Iran. There has been no comment from Moscow, but US sources are confirming the hits.

This obviously fuels concern about the conflict in Syria not just escalating, but spreading throughout the region. Adding to the regional uncertainty, Ayatollah Khomeini has reportedly balked at further negotiations with the US on the controversial so called “Iranian Nuclear Deal,” claiming the US would use it to undermine the Islamic Republic’s fundamental interests, which will likely lead to more uncertainty in the Middle East, and also led to speculation that Iranian sanctions may not, in fact, be lifted which would obviously result in their exports not coming back online.

However, despite today’s jump and the ongoing conflict, there is still consensus among many that the US stockpiles are the indicator to watch. Goldman Sachs announced they would not only not be raising their price forecast for 2016, but that they were not ruling out dropping it further. Their calculation is based on the continued presence of the oil glut and record production.

Of note domestically, the House is expected to vote on and pass a repeal of the Crude Export Ban tomorrow. It’s unclear whether it will pass the Senate yet, but the White House has already issued a statement that it will veto the bill. There may be some market rumblings depending on how the bipartisan bill fares in the Senate early next week.  

Stay Tuned!

Read More

Topics: Iran, Iran Sanctions, CRUDE, Syria, russia

Crude Reverses Early Gains on Surprise Inventory Data

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 7, 2015 3:57:52 PM

Abstract image of an oil rig, cash and a calculator

Today once again started in positive territory, with Crude up almost 2% and refined products creeping higher, but we saw a quick reversal mid-morning when products dropped into the negative, where they would end up settling at the close. (Crude ended up settling down to $47.81, ULSD was down -.0319 to $1.5796 and Gas dropped -.0462 to $1.390)

What happened?

Early in the day products were up on the EIA announcement that they are projecting demand for Crude would hit its fastest pace in 6 years in 2016, even as US production is expected to decline.  This implied further easing of the so called oil glut, which could keep a stable pressure on prices going up, in theory.  

Additionally, API projected yesterday that Crude stockpiles would show a draw of 1.2mmb.

Consequently, WTI hit a brief intraday high of 49.71, just under the $50 psychological benchmark.

However, gains were pared quickly when the EIA Inventory Report showed a build in Crude stockpiles of 3.1mmb to 461mmb, higher than any analysts had predicted. That puts Crude and petroleum product stockpiles at a high of 1.3 billion barrels. So much for a slow-down of the oil glut, eh?

Another bearish signal is that thus far into hurricane season, we have not seen any major supply delays, or refinery damage/shut downs, which are usually cause for temporary price jumps this time of year.  There is also still the looming question about what happens to global pricing when Iranian exports come back online at full capacity.

Some analysts are cautioning that traders and speculators are taking the proposed Russia/Saudi Arabia meeting too seriously, in that they don’t see them coming together on any type of agreement on raising prices by cutting supply. That would seem to be supported by the recent Saudi price drop for exports. It’s also worth remembering that Russia and Saudi Arabia are diametrically opposed in terms of the war in Syria, which may not bode well for any sort of collaborative action.

Stay Tuned!

Read More

Topics: CRUDE, Syria, russia, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, saudi arabia, oil glut

Crude jumps 4.9% on Rising Tensions, Dropping Rig Counts, and Russia

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 6, 2015 3:32:20 PM

Oil barrels laid over an upwards growing line chart

Yesterday we saw Crude jump almost 2% on a weaker dollar and speculations about Russia and OPEC’s upcoming meeting. Today more fuel was added to the fire (no pun intended) and we saw Crude continue to jump, settling out up an additional 4.9% to $48.53/bbl. Going along for the ride, ULSD closed up (+.0632) to 1.6115 and RBOB jumped (+.0509) to 1.4362.

What’s going on?

Primarily Russia and their proposed meeting with the Saudi’s on energy projects and outlooks, as discussed yesterday. (for a quick refresher, read this: Russia, OPEC and a Weaker Dollar - Oh My!).

Interestingly, before the meeting news broke on Monday, the Saudi’s had abruptly announced they would be slashing the price of their oil exports to retain market share – not a good sign for the global economy (demand), or the global supply situation. But the signal that OPEC may be willing to talk, specifically that the Saudi’s are, has more than eliminated any pull back the price cut could have been expected to have.

 Additionally, the Baker Hughes rig count report indicated further drops (down an additional 29), causing Goldman Sachs to project that US production will drop by 225,000 barrels per day in 2016. Reuters is also reporting that Libya’s production has fallen below 25% of the levels it sustained prior to the ouster of Ghaddafi.

Its possible traders are seeing at least a slow-down in the growth of the oil glut on the heels of these news items, reading it as a bullish signal for prices, and acting accordingly.  

There is rumor of a Chinese stimulus attempt as well, aimed at ramping up economic growth in that country, and therefore oil demand. As we’ve discussed before, news out of China is almost always a big driver of market moves, as they’re still the “hail Mary pass” on global economic recovery everyone is holding out for. Positive news from China = Positive numbers on the screen.

Keep in mind - the tense standoff between the US and Russia in Syria may become an increasing factor over time. Yesterday the Russians violated Turkish airspace, and we’ll have to see if there’s more sabre rattling from the Russians, or equally likely, hawkish overreaction by the US or NATO.

Stay Tuned!

Read More

Topics: CRUDE, OPEC, Stimulus, russia, china

Standing Headline: Fed Talks,Chinese Economic Data Pummel Stocks,Crude

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 28, 2015 3:46:53 PM

Man grasping his head looking at computer screens

WTI dropped 2.8% today to close out at $44.43 a barrel, while Brent closed out down 2.5% . On the refined products side of the NYMEX, ULSD and Gas both took a pummeling as well, with both down over 4 on the day. To be exact, ULSD closed out down (-.0453) to 1.4772 and RBOB closed down (-.0471) to 1.3488.

So whats going on?

For one, the news from China today was that industrial companies there have seen profits plummet at a faster level than they have in four years, resparking speculation that China's economy is really struggling a lot more than everyone has been assuming. As previously discussed, Chinese economic data is such a huge indicator because they are a top commodities consumer, and strong economic data from China is basically what traders and analysts are "hanging their hat on" as a potential for growing demand to stave off the price crushing effects of the oil glut.

The IMF Managing Director also announced today that although the economy was still recovering from the recession, the pace had decelerated, and the 3.3-3.8 GDP goals for 2015 & 2016 were now "unrealistic". This in combo with the bleak Chinese data pushed crude down quickly both overseas and domestically. 

In related news, Shell announced today that they will be pulling out of Arctic drilling exploration in Alaska. This is primarily a result of the sustained drop in oil prices, and follows a growing trend industry-wide. Over half of American rigs have been decomissioned, and investment into new oil sands projects and new gulf drilling projects has dropped substantially.

Simply put, theres just too much oil out there now to invest huge sums of money into procuring even more of it.  

Wall Street took a beating today as well on Chinese data, the IMF remarks, and continued rumor milling over the timing of the Fed Rate hike. The president of the NY Fed suggested it could happen as soon as October, where others have speculated December was the likely target date. So once again, Fed talks and the resultant speculation, combined with some more "surprise" bleak economic data hammered stocks today - which is starting to seem like a standing headline at this point. 

Stay Tuned!

 

Read More

Topics: CRUDE, FED rates, economic data, stock market, IMF, brent, wti, china, fed

Fed Holds Interest Rates, Oil Drops after Wednesday's Gains

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 18, 2015 3:14:46 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

Oil prices continued to tumble early this week - that is until the Wednesday EIA report came out and spiked prices on Crude up 6%. The report showed that Crude stockpiles fell by 2.1mmbbls for the week ending September 11. Additionally, Distillate stocks dropped by 3mmbbl, and gasoline dropped 2.84mmb. That explains Wednesday, when we saw Crude jump up to settle at $47.15 (Tuesday's close was $44), ULSD jumped .0414 to $1.5414, and RBOB jumped .0492 to $1.3821 (it could have been worse - intraday highs were over 5 up on diesel and 6 up on gas!).

Today is trending down like yesterday, with ULSD down .0390 to $1.4907, and gas down .0198 to $1.3562. WTI closed out at $44.68.

The Federal Reserve announced late Thursday that it will not be increasing interest rates at this time, based on concern about global economic growth. This has pushed oil prices down, because global concern means we're unlikely to see a spike in demand that would ease concerns about the oil glut we've been dealing with. As you'd expect, there's been some demand/use increase because of the lower prices we've been seeing, however its simply not robust enough to really make a sizeable dent in the oversupply. 

The issue with the Fed's statement outside of the grim outlook is they are still suggesting a rate hike this year, probably December. That means we will probably see the same up and down volatility with stocks and oil prices as we have seen over the past few months while waiting for this now-passed deadline. 

Rig counts are down in the US again, according to Baker Hughes' report, which may stem some production, but again, not likely to be a huge mover one way or the other. Refineries will be going on scheduled maintainence soon which may lower Crude stockpiles for a while, we'll have to wait and see on what impact that has. Across the globe, OPEC is still maintaining they will not be stemming production, and Iran has stated they intend to come fully back online as soon as sanctions no longer suppress their output. 

On the political side - the House Committee on Energy voted this week to move a bill proposing the repeal of the Crude Export Ban to the floor for a vote. Obama is likely to threaten veto, and its unclear if it will even get through the Senate to force said veto, but it is a potential bright spot for US producers and refiners that the bipartisan bill is moving to the floor.

(If you want to brush up on some of the issues regarding the Crude Oil Export Ban, you can do so in these articles: "Is it Time to Overturn the Crude Export Ban?" and "Energy Security, Not Independence, Should be the Goal" )

Stay tuned!

 

 

Read More

Topics: US Crude Exports, FED holds interest rates, CRUDE, OPEC, EIA Inventories

Lackluster Jobs Data Crushes Stocks, Crude

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 4, 2015 12:19:25 PM

Stock market numbers on a digital display board

CRUDE, ULSD, and RBOB are all trending downwards today in tandem with the Stock Market, after a less-than-robust Jobs Report out this morning. The report showed that the US added 173,000 jobs in August, a relatively far cry from the 220,000 anticipated (hoped for?) by the markets and economists.

According to some analysts, since the official unemployment rate fell to 5.1%,  the report is seen as potentially strong enough to push the Fed into following through with a September rate hike which accelerated sell offs. According to others, lackluster global economic signals are pushing the selling. I find the second assertion is more likely, but either way, the market looks poised to drop 3% on the week.

The past few weeks have seen wild volatility on Crude as well as the Stock Market. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out today - the close Tuesday marked 4 straight days of commodities trading with swings of at least 6% up or down in a row. For example, Monday for October closed up +.1101 on ULSD, and +.1020 on RBOB, then Tuesday more than erased those gains, closing out -.1233 on ULSD and -.1035 on gas. 

With the production level battles still ongoing with OPEC between the so-called "Fragile Five" and the Saudi's which so far hasn't had any curbing impact on output, and a lack of any real bright spots in the global economy, it's more probable than not that we will continue to see serious volatility for the time being. 

Stay tuned!

 

Read More

Topics: Weak Jobs Report, CRUDE, OPEC, stock market, Jobs Report

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all