Post Election and COVID Surge Into Winter

Good morning,

I hope this message finds you well.  As our country and the world is coming to terms with Biden as President-Elect, the markets have been behaving very bullish.  On Monday of this week, Pfizer announced that their vaccine is 90% in efficacy and will be distributed to 50M  Americans by the end of the year.  Dr. Fauci is also confident that the worst of the pandemic will be over by Q2 of next year following his belief that all Americans will have access to vaccines by the end of April 2021.  The news sent all markets on a rocket ship higher.  As the Republicans continue to hold control in the Senate, many believe that President-Elect Biden will not be able to achieve much success in very progressive agendas.  Therefore, many feel that the next four years will be steady with more balance back to the middle instead of a push to far left agendas.  But the vaccine party fizzled as the realty of over 120k+ cases of COVID/day plague our nation.  Markets took a breather to end the week and are starting to accept that although the vaccine news is some welcomed positive news, the next two months are going to be a lot of sickness and a lot of death.  The upcoming holiday season will probably be one of the most painful in our lifetimes.  But for the first time since the pandemic started, we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

In local news, Chicago differentials finally released their grip on cash spot pricing as harvest is coming to an end.  I don’t expect to see much price movement lower at the retail level, but at least the moves higher will likely stop.  I expect to see current retail prices hold through Thanksgiving unless something drastic happens.

Propane prices continue to hold strong even though inventories are robust.  If Wisconsin does not experience cold winter conditions by Christmas, I could see propane prices dropping in January of 2021 just like they did in 2020.  But a lot can happen between now and then.  Regardless, when looking at historical pricing, propane prices are still very low and competitive when comparing to natural gas or oil heat.  So the good news is that no matter what, whether you contracted or are riding the cash market, the heating costs for propane this coming season are a good value.

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford

COVID Surge in Europe and the US

Good afternoon,

The surge in coronavirus cases across the US and Europe has triggered quite the selloff in some equities and commodities.  Crude oil prices have tumbled all week and look to finish at the lowest levels since the Q1.  I believe that most hedge funds are looking at the lockdowns in Europe and are worried about demand erosion coupled with increased supplies.  Libya continues to pour out more crude and OPEC does not meet again until January.  At least in January we will hopefully know who the new President is and OPEC will act accordingly.  I believe that prices could be temporarily deflated until after the election.  I do believe that a Biden victory will give a $10/barrel bump on crude prices.  So for now, everyone is on pins and needles waiting for the election and watching the surge of COVID take over Europe and the US.

In local news, we are seeing demand starting to slow up in Wisconsin as COVID-19 rages through the state.  I don’t expect to see any ramp up in gasoline usage going into Thanksgiving weekend unless the recent surge shows a peak very soon.  Gasoline prices will remain under $2/gal for some time and diesel prices are continuing to hold great value.  Any diesel pump prices below $2/gallon at the pump are great value buys.

Propane prices continue to cause head scratching.  National inventories showed a build this past week when demand would be at a high level.  Futures did not react.  In fact, the disconnect between supply/demand economics in propane are leaving many to wonder if algorithm trading has entered the propane futures market?  Maybe a platform like a Robinhood has allowed access into the market, or an ETF is out there trading with propane futures.  Who really knows!  But we do know that the price of propane is very heavy based on supply and demand.  I expect to see a “bust” in prices if temps warm up at all going into the holiday season.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.  Please stay safe and remember to vote.

Best regards,

Jon Crawford