WTI Crude prices continue to climb towards $60/barrel. As I have been writing, hedge funds took long positions on crude so bullish sentiment seems to be running the market. I believe that we will see prices peak somewhere in Q2 of this year. I think there will be an opportunity for hedge funds to ring the register around that time. Earlier in the week though, we experienced a one day collapse in the rally due to President Trump tweeting at OPEC that prices are too high. The market experienced a knee-jerk reaction to the downside. However, the following day, the EIA reported a massive drop in crude oil inventories giving further support to the strength of US crude oil exports to China. In addition, OPEC came out with strong messages following Trump’s tweet saying they will not be bossed around and the plan to cut production is well supported and underway. This week again gives support to my idea that the market is on the bull train and will be for quite sometime until the hedge funds can ring the register. In Q2, we will start to see how the economy will look going into summer and high demand season. In addition, the FED will have some more input, and we will see where OPEC ends up. For now, get your wallet out and expect to keep paying these prices for a few more months.
In local retail news, gasoline retail prices continue to climb towards $2.49/gallon. I expect that we will experience at least $2.49/gallon at gasoline retail in most of the state sometime in March. If winter continues to hang around, diesel retail prices will easily continue to hover around $3.00/gallon.
Propane prices are steady and actually dropped a little last week. Production continues to be very robust and is beating demand at this point, even though winter is colder than last year. Inventory levels in the country are strong and will end the winter season at high levels. So depending on the price of crude, we could experience some very low summer fill prices this year. For now, please make sure that your icy driveways are taken care of and that there is a clear path to your propane tank to ensure a safe and efficient delivery.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.
Jon Crawford – Pres.