A sizable crude inventory build wasn’t enough to significantly affect oil prices, and the market closed with only small crude losses. Today, crude oil is again trading flat at $62.53.
Fuel prices were mixed, with diesel tracking crude’s small losses while gasoline prices roared higher. Diesel prices this afternoon are $2.0248, up 1.8 cents. Gasoline prices, which picked up 2.5 cents yesterday, are trading at $1.9408 today after shedding a penny.
US-China trade continues to be a key market driver, with Trump’s economic advisor noting “good headway” in negotiations. Last week negotiators were in Beijing for talks, and this week the conversation picked up in Washington. Trump and Xi Jinping are expected to announce a meeting in the near future, and both leaders are eager to jumpstart their economies with a trade deal. Whether the trade deal eliminates existing tariffs, or merely averts future tariffs, is yet to be seen.
Yesterday’s EIA data showed a massive crude inventory build, driven largely by gains in the Gulf Coast. However, imports and exports were only marginally changed from last week, so the Houston Ship Channel closure did not have as much of an impact as expected. Although some Gulf Coast refineries had to slow their production due to crude logistics constraint, overall refinery utilization in PADD 3 was up week over week.