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!

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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!

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

Russia, OPEC and a Weaker Dollar - Oh my!

Posted by Kelly Burke on Oct 5, 2015 3:38:37 PM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

The markets are up across the board today, from stocks to Crude oil. 

ULSD was up +.0284 to 1.5483, and RBOB shot up +.0439 to 1.3853, front month, at the close. WTI Crude was up almost 2% to close at 46.26/bbl. 

What happened?

Reportedly, Russia is open to talks with OPEC and other oil producing nations to discuss pricing and global supply. Although no actual meeting has been proposed, traders were still optimistic, and both WTI and Crude jumped up on the news. (Prices were also bolstered by a perceived weakening dollar – more on that in a moment.)

Additionally, apparently Russia and the Saudi’s have a meeting scheduled this month to discuss energy projects, and one can probably assume this will include how they will approach the OPEC meeting, if there ends up being one.

On Wall Street, disappointing job numbers from last week, coupled with a statement from the Boston Fed Chair that growth would have to be hitting 2% target rates to justify an interest rate increase resulted in a semi consensus that the odds the interest rate goes up in October is around 10%. As a result, stocks were up….but for how long?

While the Fed delay was good for Wall Street today, it’s not really a good sign bigger picture, both for Wall Street and the US in general. We saw one effect of that today, where the jump in commodity pricing can be somewhat pegged on the dollar starting to weaken on soft economic data and the implication that the US economy is not strengthening on its anticipated trajectory, as implied by the Fed delays.

Something of note internationally, that could have broad impacts on the markets, is that tensions between the US and Russia are approaching Cold War levels as Russia continues air strikes in Syria. The strikes, ostensibly part of a multifaceted attack on ISIS in Syria have apparently actually been hitting anti-Assad rebels, who are at least nominally supported by the US. To add another splash of gasoline to the fire, this weekend a Doctors without Borders hospital was bombed in Afghanistan, and it appears a US aircraft may have been involved, which could obviously have devastating international consequences, both geopolitically and otherwise.

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Topics: OPEC, FED rates, Syria, russia, WTI Crude, ISIS

Targeting ISIS - Oil Prices & Air Strikes

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 25, 2014 9:27:49 AM

Line charts depicting the stock market scattered on a table

 Supplies & EIA Data

August saw record high export levels - 3.96 million bpd, up 17% year on year, and refinery output was also up 2.3% over last August. We also saw Crude production surge 16% - largely from Eagle Ford and Bakken shale formation drilling, and on the flip, imports dropped to 7.6 million bpd for the month - the lowest import level seen in August for over 18 years. 

However,EIA data for this past week showed large draws - attributed to those same lower imports we saw over the August period. Crude Supplies were down over 3 million barrels, way off of the 750k barrel gain forecasted by analysts. Gasoline showed draws as wel -lin the neighborhood of 440k barrels.  These draws in supply are supporting the current price levels we are seeing. 

 

ISIL/ISIS & Syria

This week kicked off a coordinateed air strike camaign between the US and primarily Arab Allies bombing ISIS/ISIL targets in Syria.  

Reports are that the major source of funding for ISIS is blackmarket oil - they may be generating up to 3 million dollars PER DAY.

US supplies may actually be a critical factor in targeting ISIS. Why? Because high US stockpiles help stabilize global prices, and lower global prices mean lower blackmarket prices, which hurts ISISs ability to self fund.

Saudi Arabia & OPEC in theory could threaten to curb supply to maintain or force high prices -that would be better for their revenue- however, the Saudis have said they will not change any agreed upon supply. Why? 

Because they want ISIS out of the picture too, so even though this years slide in pricing is hurting the bottom line for some oil producing nations - maintining lower prices forces ISIS to keep cutting the price on black market oil to maintain the discount and the lower it goes, the lower their revenue drops. Add to this that 12 modular refineries are targets for the air strike and you effectively dry up their ability to self fund, as well as their ability to fuel their operations. So, for the Saudis et al - a short term budget shortfall makes long term sense because it can take ISIS out of the equation entirely in the future (in theory anyway). 

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Topics: US Energy Boom, OPEC, Syria, ISIS

Futures Continue to Rebound After Early Week Sell Off

Posted by Mark Pszeniczny on Sep 26, 2013 5:00:00 PM

Front month Heat continues to find comfort above the 2.95 level as traders weigh the recent barrage of news.  Earlier in the week, many feared an almost inevitable Government shutdown, but those fears were erased late Wednesday as a House Bill passed that would fund activities for the next several weeks.  While Inventories were in my opinion somewhat Bearish, the news didn't take so well yesterday and pushed futures up slightly ahead of today's report that showed the US economic growth rate fell in line with expectations with an increase of 2.5%.  Additionally, new applications for unemployment benefits fell by roughly 5000 to 305,000.  The Bullish overtures of a growing economy almost always will spur a rise in Commodity futures.  The Syrian problem continues to drag on in a political stalemate as Russia successfully blocked a UN resolution which would have authorized military strikes.    While news may be what most are pointing to as the driver, one must give the technical analyst his due.  The Failure of front month HO to settle below the 2.95 mark has spurred buying over  the last two sessions.  This level continues to be a huge support area.  At the Close, Crude gained .37 to $103.03, RBOB added .0321 to $2.7050 and HO settles up .0306 to $3.0037

RBOB Close
                      CLOSE     CHANGE            
OCT   2.7050        +.0321
NOV   2.6887        +.0318
DEC   2.6647        +.0286
JAN    2.6557       +.0276
FEB     2.6583      + .0272
              MAR    2.6675      +.0269                 
HEAT Close
      CLOSE            CHANGE
OCT  3.0037        +.0306
NOV   2.9993      +.0280
    DEC     2.9930    +.0272     
JAN     2.9885     +.0265
FEB    2.9824    +.0251
MAR  2.9689     +.0234


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Topics: unemployment benefits fall, Futures, government shutdown, Syria

Markets React to Syrian Conflict and Implications of US Intervention

Posted by Mark Pszeniczny on Aug 28, 2013 3:42:00 PM

As news continually breaks on developments on the Syrian conflict and the potential implications of US or other world power intervention in the region, stocks are dropping and commodities are going through the roof.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced this week that there was “undeniable” evidence that the recent chemical weapons attacks in Syria were perpetrated by the Assad regime. The announcement in tandem with the presence of UN Weapons inspectors being fired upon in the country prompted speculation that the US may intervene with military action. Additionally, the
recent attacks cross the “red line” declaration issued by the Obama administration several months ago regarding chemical weapons.

The threat of US intervention has prompted Global Markets to react heavily to the news. In the US, the Dow fell Tuesday by over 170 to hit a two month low of 14,776.13 and the Nasdaq fell 78.13 points to 3579.44. Stocks took a hit while commodities shot up, notably gold in both the US & Canada. Brent Crude hit a six month high on Tuesday in the wake of the rumors of
military action, and US Crude rose over 3 dollars as well. Oil Prices have risen 15% over the past 3 months on concern over violent civil war in Egypt, and now conflict in Syria is pushing them even higher.

The issue with Syria is complex – Syria itself is not a major exporter. The issue is essentially concern that US intervention in Syria will spark regional unrest as well as create increased tensions with other major world powers, specifically Russia and China. Consensus seems to be that the major issue with intervention in the conflict could interrupt export and production schedules, particularly those in Iraq and Libya, according to cbc.ca.

It’s estimated that about 1% of global oil supply runs through the bay of Iskenderun in Turkey, only a few miles off the Syrian border, and tensions in Syria could threaten this export route, according to Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix in Reuters on Tuesday. Disruption of this supply
route would have a deep impact on European and Asian markets, particularly if tension spreads throughout the Middle East, which produces over 1/3 of Global Oil supply.

 

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Topics: European Economy, Eygpt, CRUDE, rising gas prices, Syria

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