WTI crude prices climbed back above $51/b this morning, after yesterday’s price dip. WTI opened at $50.80/b today, a drop of $0.38 below yesterday’s opening. Current prices are $51.36/b, $0.21 above yesterday’s close. Diesel prices also recovered this morning, whilst gasoline prices are stable.
Diesel opened at $1.596/gallon in today’s trading session. This was a decline of 0.22 cents (0.14%) below yesterday’s opening price. Current prices are $1.6112/gallon, up 0.77 cents from yesterday’s close.
Gasoline opened at $1.7144/gallon today, a drop of 1.25 cents, or 0.72%, from yesterday’s opening. Prices are $1.7129/gallon currently, down 0.24 cents from yesterday’s close. Although gasoline prices retreated slightly, they nonetheless remain at their highest levels since August of 2015.
Prices sagged yesterday when the EIA released its weekly supply data. The EIA reported an unexpected increase in crude oil inventories. Crude stocks rose by 1.566 mmbbls during the week ended March 31st. Product stocks were drawn down less than anticipated. Gasoline inventories were drawn down by 0.618 mmbbls, and diesel inventories were drawn down by 0.536 mmbbls. The statistics were bearish for the market, which had anticipated a crude stock drawdown of 1.83 mmbbls per the API’s inventory report. The API also estimated that product stocks would be drawn down significantly: a gasoline stock draw of 2.6 mmbbls and a diesel stock draw of 2.09 mmbbls. In net terms, therefore, the market had expected an inventory draw of 6.52 mmbbls total, whereas the official EIA data showed a net build of 0.412 mmbbls.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) released the detailed minutes of their March meeting, which resulted in an interest rate hike. Going into the March meeting, banks anticipated three rate hikes in 2017. However, economists are now theorizing that the rate hikes will be coming at a slower pace, since the Fed may start shrinking its balance sheet gradually toward the end of the year.