WTI crude prices are above $53/b this morning. WTI opened at $53.13/b today, an increase of $0.82 above yesterday’s opening, and the highest opening price since March 7th. Current prices are $53.04/b, $0.04 below yesterday’s close. Product prices also posted gains yesterday and appear to be stabilizing this morning, though gasoline has dipped more than diesel has.
Diesel opened at $1.6508/gallon in today’s session. This was an increase of 2.12 cents (1.3%) above yesterday’s opening price. Current prices are $1.6487/gallon, up 0.14 cents from yesterday’s close.
Gasoline opened at $1.7617/gallon today, an increase of 1.51 cents, or 0.86%, from yesterday’s opening. Prices are $1.7553/gallon currently, down 0.28 cents from yesterday’s close.
Hedge fund have increased their net long positions in oil futures, now betting on prices to rise. This reverses the trend that dominated much of March, when investors cut net length, and prices sagged. On the supply side, OPEC-NOPEC compliance with production cut levels has been high, and Libyan output from the Sharara field has been cut once again. On the demand side, the market now seems to be expecting the U.S. summer driving season to pick up early and to start absorbing excess supplies. Gasoline inventories have been drawn down in eight of the past nine weeks, and an industry survey now forecasts that crude and product inventories will be drawn down this week. Refineries are now emerging from spring maintenance and increasing utilization rates. For the week ended March 30th, refiner net input of crude oil rose by over 200 kbpd.
The EIA has released its data on U.S. Retail Gasoline and Diesel Prices for the week ended April 10th. Prices rose significantly for both fuels at the national level and in all PADDs. Gasoline prices jumped 6.4 cents/gallon, while diesel prices rose by 2.6 cents/gallon. Gasoline prices are at their highest levels since the week ended September 7th, 2015. Details are presented in our second article today.