Today's Market = John Bolton Firing vs OPEC Cuts

Posted by Kelly Burke on Sep 10, 2019 3:22:00 PM

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This past Friday, ahead of the scheduled OPEC meeting this week, Saudi Arabia abruptly announced a new Energy Minister, Prince Adbulaziz. The move sparked momentary concern that this was a signal the Saudi's would be reversing course on the OPEC+ production cut agreement, but it appears they are actually doubling down.

The kingdom announced they would be adhering to and encouraging the production cuts going forward, and Russian officials announced that they fully anticipated continuing the current trajectory with the new leadership. 

This consensus initially let prices continue their several day climb, with WTI hitting a 6 week high momentarily ... BUT!

But this afternoon, the Trump Administration announced the firing of US National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Bolton was extremely vocal regarding his hardline stance against Iran, and his "resignation" may be a positive signal for future progress on peace talks with Iran, and in the near term, may be a good move to de-escalate the current situation, a lot of which has impacted the oil industry via threats to tankers & the threat to block the Strait of Hormuz. 

Prices have backed off intraday highs following the Bolton announcement. Essentially any hint of resolution with Iran, while positive, also renews concerns about Iranian supply flooding the market, and that is pushing down on pricing (despite the prematurity of any concern). 

Time will tell how the interplay between production cuts and lingering supply concerns levels out, particularly depending on inventory reporting (which we should see tomorrow) and domestic production.

For today, at the close, we ended essentially flat. ULSD +.0035 to $1.9312, RBOB +.0062 to $1.5908

Stay Tuned! 

 

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Topics: Iran, OPEC, russia, WTI Crude

WTI Hits Lows on Inventory & Projection Data

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jun 12, 2019 3:45:37 PM

WTI Brent Crude Decline

Prices continued to slide Wednesday as the EIA reported builds in Crude supplies of 2.21mmb for the week ending June 7th. (Yesterday, the API report indicated even more drastic build of 4.9mmb). This afternoon, WTI closed out at $51.14/bbl, the lowest close since January. WTI has dropped close to 20% since April peaks. 

On the NYMEX today, both gasoline & distillates tumbled alongside Crude, shedding -.0702 and -.0422, respectively. (The session closed out at $1.6861 for RBOB, $1.7799 on ULSD.) 

In addition to pricing being low, demand forecasts have been revised downward for 2019 & 2020 by the EIA, by around 100K bbl per day, globally.  

However, despite both the drop in prices and the slowing demand, forecasts indicate that not only will production continue in the US, but will ramp up by approximately 1.4mmb/day in 2019, according to the EIA. This is supported by statements made by the Deputy Energy Secretary of the United States, Dan Brouillette this week, who said production would continue to increase domestically despite pricing and demand concerns and he expects that demand concerns will resolve "as the economy begins to rev up". He also dismissed concerns that the ongoing tariff dispute with China would adversely impact US production, which remains to be seen. 

Analysts seem to be in agreement that OPEC is unlikely to seek any more curbs in output for their member nations, so essentially, with no major impact events on the horizon, we are just waiting to see if this is the bottom, a new normal, or a temporary blip. 

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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Topics: EIA, WTI Crude, EIA Inventories, china

Today's Takeaways from the EIA Short Term Energy Outlook

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jan 15, 2019 3:30:22 PM

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The US Energy Information Association - EIA - is out today with the Short Term Energy Outlook report with projections for 2019 & 2020.

Here are what I think are the major takeaways:

  • 2019 Price forecast for Crude oil - $61/bbl Brent, $53-57/bbl WTI. The Brent average for 2018 was $71/bbl, so we are expecting to continue to downward overall trend in pricing. 
  • 2019 Projected retail gas price - $2.47 (Down from 2018 average of $2.73) 
  • US Crude Production hit a high in 2018 - it is expected to continue to accelerate from the current level through 2019 & 2020. Over the next 2 years, experts expect an increase of over 1.5 million barrels per day. 
  • US Importing of crude & refined products is expected to continue to decline. Although we temporarily saw the US become a net exporter in 2018, the actual average per day imported was around 2 million barrels. That's expected to decline to 1mmb/d for 2019 and a shocking 0.1 mmb/d per day in 2020. (You read that right - .01, amazing)
  • US (Dry) Natural Gas production is expected to jump from 83 bcf per day in 2018 to 90 in 2019. 
  • Global Inventories are expected to continue to increase.  
  • On the clean energy front, coal's role in electrical production continues to decline over the next 2 years. Hydropower's share of generation is projected to remain stable. Wind power electrical generation is expected to outpace hydropower for the first time ever in 2019.
  • Carbon emissions are projected to decline 1.2% in 2019 as well, and a little under 1% for 2020 as it stands now. 

 

Long story short - expect more production, more inventory, lower prices, continued progress and growth on cleaner energy and a decline in carbon emissions - all at the same time. Happy 2019!  

 

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Topics: natural gas, EIA, WTI Crude, US Crude Production, Clean Energy

Markets Reverse on Strong Demand Signals

Posted by Kelly Burke on Dec 19, 2018 2:02:07 PM

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Markets reversed in a big way today, with front month WTI Crude surging 3% after yesterdays 7.3% decline. At time of writing, both diesel and gas are up (ULSD +.0447, RBOB +.0307)

According to the experts, today's reversal is largely based on demand level optimism on refined products. The DOE indicated that distillate inventories dropped by 4.2 million barrels, a sharp contrast to the half a million barrel build analysts had predicted. Diesel demand is at levels not seen since early 2003.

Despite today's jump it's important to remember that prices are still very low overall - both Crudes (Brent & WTI) are down over 30% since the end of September. The strong indicators for refined product demand also don't do much to address the larger issue weighing on prices, namely, global supply levels and overall global economic concerns as they relate to demand. 

The OPEC+ deal wont be in effect until the beginning of 2019, and current production levels are high. Saudi Arabia is anticipating lower global supply levels by the end of March, but their statement on the matter hasn't done much to slow the overall trend of plummeting prices. 

 Economically, the US is doing well but there are concerns that the Fed's response to strong economic growth - raising interest rates yet again may put a damper on growth pace going forward. This concern may or not be borne out, however, as recent rate increases have seemingly been absorbed without catastrophe. It may very well have short term impacts on both the NYMEX and financial markets, however.

The Fed is expected to make a rate hike announcement this afternoon, we will have to wait and see what those impacts are, and how much staying power they have.  

Stay tuned. 

 

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Topics: DOE, Market analysis, WTI Crude

Dwindling OPEC Agreement Hopes Reverse Rally

Posted by Kelly Burke on Aug 30, 2016 4:00:34 PM

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August has been all over the place. Crude futures this month were up 23% in less than 3 weeks as of the 28th. We've bounced from an August 10th low of $41.71 to an August 19th a high of $48.52 -  and today we’re in the middle at $46.35.

So what’s going on?

Last week, optimism reigned. Longs were up and shorts were way down across the board on WTI, RBOB and U.S. ULSD. Citigroup and BOA/ML were saying the global glut is diminishing based on the narrowing Brent discount we were seeing. That was reflected in last week’s rally but we saw that rally reverse yesterday as hopes backed off on just how quickly we might see that supply glut fade.

So what caused the overabundance of hope in just how quickly the supply glut could fade?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: OPEC countries are set to meet September 26-28th in Algiers for “informal talks” in which the Saudis are reportedly “prepared to listen” to the input of the other OPEC nations in regards to agreeing on output caps to curb global oversupply. This drove the market higher on hopes of an agreement propping up pricing longer term, but hopes on any such agreement coming to fruition have begun to drop off.

Déjà vu all over again.

If you recall, the last OPEC meeting had a similarly framed narrative and a similarly bullish impact on the markets a few weeks out from the meeting before falling off, as it became clear that the conference would fail to produce a deal. There was no agreement on output cuts last go around largely because of Saudi insistence that Iran be a full participant in agreeing to output limits, which the newly un-sanctioned Iran obviously refused to agree to.  Given the dynamic there has not changed substantially it’s hard to imagine that a meaningful deal is reached this time either.  

That seems to be the conclusion that traders reached as well just like leading up to the prior meeting. Today saw Crude close out at $46.35, down marginally from Monday’s close but over a dollar down from Friday’s $47.64. (ULSD and RBOB followed suit, dropping -.0151 and -.0186 respectively for August trading)

What’s becoming interesting about the other dynamics involved in the OPEC meetings is Russia realistically needs an agreement sooner rather than later. While they are not in Venezuela style meltdown yet, a huge portion of their revenue depends on oil and the ongoing standoff with the Saudis on over production for market share retention will presumably hit breaking point at some time, as both Russia and Saudi Arabia hemorrhage money.

Meanwhile, it looks like long term the supply situation may correct itself, and largely courtesy of the Russia/Saudi standoff, somewhat ironically. Bloomberg is reporting that oil discoveries have plummeted to lows not seen in over half a century as a result of ongoing price depression that has halted new discoveries by severely curbing investment in drilling and exploration. This is especially notable in the U.S. where exploration is at multi year lows after the crash in prices from 2014 highs.

So although this OPEC meeting is unlikely to produce an agreement to cut supply and stabilize pricing this time, in an odd twist of fate, ultimately the ongoing standoff may push long term pricing up over time regardless of OPEC input.

Stay tuned!

 

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Topics: OPEC, russia, WTI Crude, saudi arabia, oil glut

Crude Hits New Lows After Hopeful Bounce Overnight

Posted by Kelly Burke on Jan 19, 2016 3:35:02 PM

Downwards facing arrow constructed of the words oil and brent

Overnight and early trading on Crude was up - bolstered by the performance of the Chinese Markets (they went up instead of crashing hard enough to trigger the circuit breaker this time). US Stocks, bonds and equities all climbed along, and it looked like today was poised for a rally, or at least the proverbial "dead cat bounce"

However, once the temporary amnesia wore off, Iran coming back online came back into play and the markets took a beating across the board.

WTI Crude closed out at $28.46 - slightly below the $28.50 sub-$30 benchmark some analysts had projected (or more likely hoped) would be the new "bottom". That remains to be seen.

ULSD followed suit with WTI, dropping .0256 to settle at $0.9087, while gas was up 50 points to stay in the $1.02 range ($1.0262 to be precise).

Stocks unfortunately also followed suit with WTI  - as of writing  the Nasdaq, Dow Jones, and S&P are all down - keeping 2016 in the red as it has been thus far. 

The EIA inventories later this week could have a major impact, particularly if there are builds. Most predict draws, but a build on gas could be significant as we could in theory see RBOB follow ULSD below the $1 benchmark. 

Stay Tuned!

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Topics: Iran, Iran Sanctions, RBOB, WTI Crude, $1

Monday Sinks on Demand, Tuesday Surges on Supply

Posted by Kelly Burke on Nov 3, 2015 3:22:33 PM

Man grasping his head while looking at computer screens

Yesterday we saw the beginning of a reversal of last week's rally on more bad economic news from China that came out over the weekend. Specifically, manufacturing dropped again, remaining under the level that is seen as official contraction. Once again, this impacts the oil markets because we're counting on their demand remaining high, or even increasing. That doesn't happen when your manufacturing slows down. Monday settled down marginally with the exception of gasoline. (Crude at 46.14, ULSD down -.0098 to 1.5069 and Gas up 37 points to 1.3753).

Today however, was an entirely different story. At the close, ULSD settled at 1.5660 (+.0591), Gas was up (+.0702) to 1.4455, and Crude was up almost 4% to 47.90, with Brent settling up 3.5% to $50.51.

 What Happened?!

Bloomberg & The Wall Street Journal are reporting that in yet more infighting between Libyans and militia factions, Libyan Oil Ministers announced the indefinite closure of a major port by force majeure after the port came under control of "an armed militia". No word yet on who that militia was. The closure will drop Libyan production/export by approximately 70,000bpd. As discussed before, Libya was a major exporter historically, with a capacity of about a million and a half barrels per day but since the country essentially went into a tailspin, that's been dropping. This latest closure brings them down to under half a million barrels a day - less than a third of their capacity.

In Brazil, oil workers began striking Sunday, and reportedly have already dropped State run Petrobras' output by approximately 25%.

So today obviously jumped on supply disruptions - but globally, we are still looking at a supply glut, especially when we look at Chinese economic data and Iran's announcement that they are working towards another half a million barrels a day coming online.

Barring extreme scenarios, one would assume prices would back off some, or stabilize on supply, rather than continue to surge on it. A big mover tommorow could be the EIA Inventory report, and later this week we're looking at more Fed talks. Also, the October Jobs report out on Friday will undoubtedly move Wall Street, but we will have to wait and see how that may or may not impact the NYMEX. 

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Libya, WTI Crude, china, brazil

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

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

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