Crude oil prices continue to remain weak and received very little support from events that unfolded. Even though US and China struck a “light” trade deal, crude did not respond positively. The deal is not seen as changing the world economic environment. Basically, most see the phase one deal as a “stop measure” from the situation getting any worse. OPEC also released information that even with the purposed crude oil cuts, crude production will beat demand. This news is very bearish and tracks as the US officially hit a new production record of 13M barrels/day. Gasoline and diesel stock inventories rose again this week. And even though exports are strong, petroleum productions continue to be ample in supply. Overall, the outlook for crude prices is very bearish and this is on the heels of a potential conflict with Iran only two weeks ago!
Gasoline and diesel retail prices dropped a bit this week. We are seeing about $2.39/gallon on gasoline and $2.84/gallon on diesel fuel. I don’t expect to see much change on prices at the pump.
Propane prices dropped again this week. Propane is very bearish. Supplies are at national record levels and the lack of demand is making it worse. I don’t expect to see any major blow out in propane prices this season. For right now, we are waiting to see if winter will ever stick around! Even with the recent cold snap, nothing looks to ever stay longer than a couple days.
As always, in you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.
Well, I think this might be the craziest week with crude prices I have ever experienced. President Trump issued the order for the execution of General Soleimani from Iran in Bahgdad on January 2nd. The drone attack caused crude oil prices to sky rocket. Iran threatened retaliation and Trump responded with further attacks if Iran killed any more Americans. The escalation in the Middle East pushed WTI prices to the highest level since April 2019 when Iran attacked Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries. Then on Wednesday, Iran launched rockets into Iraq targeting bases that housed American soldiers. As we feared for the worst, we were told that no American lives were lost. Trump gave a speech declaring that Iran announced the rockets were the retaliatory strike and no more attacks would be issued. Trump considered the escalation diffused. Then something strange happened. Crude oil prices sold off at a greater volume prior to the attacks and are now sitting below $60/barrel and continuing to find weakness. The US executed an Iranian general, Iran launches rockets at American bases, and crude prices go down. Never before have we experienced this type of fluctuation based on the events.
This week shows how oil production in Russia and the US have taken away much of the risk premium in the Middle East. We were on the brink of potential conflict with Iran and oil prices only rallied 5% and now sold off more than 6%. The incident really displayed the new world we live in with crude oil production. Production is incredibly strong and no major supply hurdles are on the horizon. Therefore traders are shrugging off the Iran conflict, just like the Iran attack on Saudi Arabia.
In local news, gasoline prices and diesel prices continue to move around with crude price fluctuations. Gasoline retail prices are averaging 2.44/gallon across the state and diesel prices are averaging 2.84/gallon.
Propane supply continues to be very high and the warm temperatures are not helping demand. I do not see any issues for supply problems coming from our main storage facilities in the US. As of right now, we are about to experience the most propane in inventory for January in our nation’s history. If crude prices continue to fall and the weather stays warm, I would expect to see softer propane retail prices and good prices for next year as well.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to give us a call.