Hurricane and Record Production

Good morning,

Another wild week in the crude trade.  We started the week with Hurricane Florence coming to the U.S.  The potential threat to East Coast pipelines and shipments caused a nice upward bump in the price of WTI.  Then on Wednesday the EIA reported a large drop in crude inventories but a massive build in all refined products.  Traders digested data and crude prices started to move sideways.  The drums have been beating for weeks that the market is tight and that the loss of Iran and Venezuela crude is putting upward pressure on crude prices.  But on Thursday, the IEA and the U.S. reported news that in August, the world produced a RECORD amount of crude, even with the losses from Iran and Venezuela!  In addition, the U.S. overtook both Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s number one producer of crude oil at over 11 million barrels per day!  The news caused crude prices to drop like a rock sending refined product prices back to the level before the hurricane was reported on Monday.  Wild ride…  So for now, we are holding on Friday waiting to see how Hurricane Florence plays out.  I am still a bit bullish on crude going into the end of year, and I’m not convinced that won’t see some refinery maintenance issues in the Midwest causing some local price spikes during the fall harvest.  More to come.

In local news, gasoline and diesel prices have been pretty stable around the $2.76/gallon on gasoline and $3.09/gallon on diesel.  With the market making big moves both ways, we are still maintaining an average that will probably continue to hold these prices at the pumps.

Propane continues to baffle me.  Prices have remained fairly calm.  With national inventories below the five year average coupled with mother nature’s history so far this year, I’m worried that any jump in propane demand is going to cause a major price spike.  I continue to encourage everyone to lock in their propane prices for this winter and fill their tanks now to ensure being full before the temperature changes.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford

Price Peak For Now – Flooding Not Over

Good morning everyone,

We continue to monitor flooding in our area and wish everyone’s safety over the next few days.  If you need any help, please feel free to contact us.  If any propane tanks or refined fuel tanks have been affected, please reach out to us immediately to ensure your safety.  Hopefully the dry forecast for the next week is accurate and waters can start to recede.

Crude oil prices continue to be under pressure from the trade war with China and now a possible trade war with Japan.  The strength of the dollar is putting a cap on upward movement in WTI crude prices.  I am surprised by the current downward trend due to drop in inventories.  There are a lot of eyes on world demand and potential slow down in China and India’s economies.  However, China and India have made it clear that they will not comply with sanctions on Iran and will continue purchasing crude.  So the summer of “chaos and excitement” in the crude oil market is going to continue into fall.  I am still bullish on crude prices.  Within OPEC, the largest driver of price, Saudi Arabia, does not want to see prices go much lower.  And they have shown over the last two months that they will do whatever is necessary to keep WTI crude above $65/barrel.  For now, enjoy a little dip in price, but I’m not seeing this trend last until the end of the year.

In local retail news, prices are fairly stable.  I expect to see retail prices on gasoline and diesel hold over the weekend into next week.  With harvest and refinery maintenance coming up, we could experience some local price spikes in the coming months.  Stay tuned for more info.

Propane rack prices have leveled off for now.  However, future prices for this season have continued to blow out into larger than normal spreads.  I highly recommend that everyone lock in their propane prices.  There is a major gap in price between Midwest and Gulf Coast propane.  Supplies are under the five year mark, and a “colder than average” winter is being called.  Right now the propane market is showing cards for a potential price spike this winter.  January through March of 2019 could be very ugly.  Please call our office today and lock in your price for the coming heating season.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford