It appears that the Canadian Wildfires have spread a cloudy haze not just over the Northeast but also over the collective minds in the Fuel Markets. The last few days produced data that simply put, has baffled market sentiment. First to note, Diesel prices are roughly $2 LESS per gallon today versus a year ago. Thus, one would assume production and inventories to fall. This week’s Inventory report showed production is UP 2% and Inventories are UP 2.5%, yet future pricing is about $.20 HIGHER than a week ago. Again, usually higher stocks trigger lower production and falling prices.
Throw in that Saudi Arabia announced it was going alone and instituting an additional 1mbpd cut and domestic diesel demand is UP 4.5% over last year, this appears to have many bewildered as to market direction. The other head scratcher is the US freight Index, which measures all shipping/freight volumes and is looked at as a barometer for the economy showed that we are DOWN 2.5% over last year. How can demand be up, but freight be down? Granted there are other avenues of usage, but shipping is typically the brunt of it.
As we have been saying, we will likely be within this $.20 range from high to low for the next few weeks until some sort of clarity prevails. We are keeping an eye on the developing backwardation again in both gas and diesel pricing. (outer months less then front months) While we thought we were past this, it may start to limit what some bring into storage. It is crucial to have a Supplier on your side rather than a Marketer.