Nothin’ Gonna Keep Me Down

Good afternoon,

After entering into correction, WTI pricing has whipsawed back to above $62/barrel. With the dollar recovering from the low and production increasing in the U.S. and Nigeria of OPEC, many of us are scratching our heads at the quick claw back in crude pricing. In addition, Iraq is investing in more production, and if Nigeria is truly cheating on quotes, I wonder how much longer others will hold out. Russia has been stomaching their quota but their players in the country really would like to increase production. I’m thinking that maybe crude recovered much like the DOW. There was still money left on the table from the tax cuts and record profits to throw into the market when the first round of selling triggered across equities and commodities. At this point, I’m sticking with what one trader called earlier this month “the appetizer before the meal.” I really do think that crude will come back down below $60/barrel one more time this spring, possibly in March. If the Fed raises rates in March, pressure on crude will mount. Also, traders will have to decide if they want to cash out of crude in Q1 and move the money into something else.

In local news, retail prices are all over the board. In a 45 mile radius from Madison, retail prices on gasoline have ranged from $2.35 to $2.49. Diesel prices are starting to ease a bit as #1 ULSD blends fade out a bit. Just as prices were going to break into the possible teens on gasoline, crude clawed right back.

Propane retail prices have a eased a bit from the highs. We expect to see prices go down from here for the rest of the heating season into spring. Summer fill and contract information for 2018 will be available closer to June/July.

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.

Game of Tug and Pull

Good morning,

Crude oil finally unwound from its highs last week. Over $10/barrel came off of the WTI crude oil contract last week due to increased production in the US and the strength of the dollar. Futures prices dropped dramatically and crossed our strike price of $60/barrel. This week, crude prices rebounded a bit on a weaker dollar and news from Saudi Arabia that they plan to keep production low even though the US overtook them in production. The US also started building inventories of products going into the spring. In addition, the US also shipped their first “super-tanker” of crude. And some of our crude oil is showing up in new countries meaning that our customer base is growing. I do not believe that we bottomed out last week. I believe we will see a tug and pull between $59-62/barrel for sometime. If the dollar index starts to move higher and hold above 90, I don’t believe WTI crude will hold above $60/barrel. Lots of talk going on and rebalancing of hedge fund monies right now, so hold on because it’s going to be bumpy for a few weeks.

In local retail news, gasoline and diesel prices continue to drop. If you are considering locking in fuel prices for this year, now is good time to start thinking about it. I am still advising clients to lock up prices for the fall and maybe let the spring ride. Feel free to call me for more info.

Propane prices rebounded off of the lows due to a slight increase in demand. However, I do not see the recent price increase affecting retail prices. As of right now, we are seeing prices for next heating season being about the same as this season. More pricing info will be released this summer.

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford