Merry Christmas and Happy Volatility!!!

Good morning,

I hope everyone had a safe and Merry Christmas!  The weather was nice for travels and fuel retail prices were low for keeping some extra spending money in your pockets.  The last few days have been an absolute wild ride.  On Christmas Eve, the stock market and crude oil futures posted one of the worst sell offs in history.  The causes were fear of economic downturn in 2019, surplus crude oil supplies overtaking demand, Munchin giving a weird call to the banks to try and calm markets, OPEC not cutting enough, record US crude production, and the US Government shutting down.  Then we had Christmas and a day off.  And then we woke up yesterday to a completely different outlook.  The outlook included the following gems: crude oil supplies might be in balance soon according to OPEC;  OPEC, Russia, and Canada are all willing to cut even more supplies and sooner if needed; economic outlook is very positive for 2019 with high demand for crude oil; record spending on retail for the holidays; and overall “everything is awesome and gonna be great in 2019.”  The sentiment change caused a volatile record day gains in the stock market and crude futures…. Our troubles are over!!!…  The sell off is over, crude has bottomed, and December was a fluke…  Then we woke up this morning and the markets are selling off again.  So basically we have markets that are out of control and I say “get out of the way.”  Traders are desperately trying to call a bottom but it just doesn’t want to show its face yet.  So for now, sit back and watch probably the bumpiest ride in the market since the last correction.

In local retail news, retail gasoline has hit $1.99/gallon in the surrounding market areas.  Diesel retail prices are holding near $2.79/gallon.  I don’t think we will go much lower at the pump.  But I also don’t see it going back up anytime soon, especially since we went below $2.00/gallon on gasoline at the pump.  Once that “1” comes out in front on the price signs at the street, it’s very hard to put the “2” back up.

Propane retail prices are holding steady on good demand.  Inventories are around the five year average.  Although we had some warm weather here in December, don’t forget to keep your hat and mittens handy.  Some cold weather is on the way with some arctic blasts possible in the middle of January.  Stay tuned for more info.

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

Have a safe and Happy New Year’s celebration!

Jon Crawford – Pres.

OPEC Meeting Disappoints

Good afternoon,

The big OPEC meeting today in Vienna did not impress traders.  Hopes were for over a 1.5M barrel/day cut, and that does not look like it will happen, even when Russia weighs in tomorrow.  In addition, the economic outlook is starting to look weak for the U.S. which is causing a massive sell off in the market.  To top it off, China and U.S. trade tensions are high with summit talks being interpreted differently between the two countries as well as Canada arresting an executive from the Chinese firm Huawei.  The traders have reacted by selling off even more crude contracts.  WTI crude prices have now dropped back to their lows for the year.  The bullish news being reported was a major drop in crude supplies here in the U.S., Iran threatening to block the Straight of Hormuz, and Canada offering to cut crude production to help prop up prices.  For now, traders seem to think the world is entering closer to surplus on crude supplies and bearish news on the economy is winning the war of words.  For now, cheap oil prices are maybe here to stay until year end.  We will need to wait for Russia’s reaction as well as OPEC’s official report.

In local news, retail prices on gasoline have bottomed out near $2.19/gallon, and retail diesel prices are right around $3.00/gallon depending on the winter blending applied.  I would expect to see these lower prices through Christmas.  So for now, we can enjoy some lower prices for the holiday season!

Propane prices have bottomed as demand continues to climb.  We officially experienced the coldest November on record.  For all will-call customers, please make sure to keep an eye on your propane tank.  Usage is up more than 20% this year.  As a reminder, please make sure to have yoru driveway cleared and a path available to your tank throughout the winter.  We appreciate all your help for making safe and efficient deliveries. 

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

Best regards,

Jon Crawford – Pres.