Coming off a long holiday weekend, crude oil prices are flat to higher as traders await more directional news. Crude oil started off with light gains this morning, and currently WTI prices are trading at $58.04, a 53 cent increase.
Fuel prices are mixed, with gasoline taking the larger losses. Diesel prices are trading flat at $1.9060. Gasoline is trading at $1.9134, down 1.6 cents from Friday’s close.
Markets are weighing economic concerns against tensions in the Middle East. Over the weekend, Iran announced they are surpassing the 3.67% uranium enrichment agreed upon in the Iran nuclear deal. So far, the country has indicated plans to keep enrichment around 5%, which would be useful for nuclear power generation. Nuclear weapons require 80-90% enrichment, which would take Iran a year or more to develop. When the nuclear deal was signed back in 2015, Iran was within a few months of weapons-grade materials, but they were required to surrender the highly enriched uranium in exchange for sanctions relief.
Hurricane Season Update
In weather news, NOAA is calling for a potential cyclone development in the Gulf Coast sometime later this week. The agency indicated a Tropical Depression may develop due to a low pressure band traveling south from Georgia towards the Gulf, adding that heavy rainfalls are likely regardless of cyclone development.
We’re just at the beginning of hurricane season, and so far it’s been a relatively quiet year. Hurricane season usually begins slow, rising to a peak in early September before declining again. So far one named storm has come through the Atlantic, with minimal impact. This year, NOAA is predicting a near-normal hurricane season with 4-8 hurricanes, of which 2-4 will be major (Category 3 or higher).