Analysis by Alan Apthorp
This week has brought another Friday bear, building on the steep declines seen last Friday. Markets have seen large run-ups and falls in recent weeks; markets seem unsure of their next move. Recent days with large losses have been followed by steady gains to offset the sell-off.
Driving the up/down/up/down cycle has been a flurry of uncertainty related to Libya, Venezuela, and China. Libya resumed production at their El Sharara field, while Venezuela continued to see production declines. As we covered in our first article, US-China trade has been a constant source of “will they/won’t they” drama, with the global economy at stake.
Earlier this week, fuel buyers in the northeast were less concerned with Libyan oil and Venezuela sanctions and more focused on the bitter cold that caused highways to shut down and slowed fuel deliveries. It appears the worst weather is behind us, leaving operations teams with a few months to recover before the next major weather season – hurricane season.
Prices in Review
Crude oil rates saw small changes throughout the week, barely moving much higher or lower from day-to-day until Friday’s sell-off. Crude opened the week at $55.83, trading slightly lower towards the middle of the week before seeing some moderate gains on Thursday. Prices came just shy of $57 before turning lower, and Friday saw a strong decline in prices. Although Friday’s opening price of $56.42 represents a 59 cent gain, it appears the week is poised to close well in the red.
Diesel prices are seeing similar losses this morning, trading well below $2/gal. Diesel opened the week at $1.9999, and opened this morning at $2.0055 – a half cent gain, but 5 cent losses today will put the week in the red overall.
Gasoline is somewhat distinct from crude and diesel prices in that today’s losses merely put it back in line with where it began the week. Gasoline opened at $1.7285, but climbed throughout the week after the EIA reported a large draw in gasoline stocks. Peaking above $1.80 on Thursday, gasoline saw prices open Friday at $1.7944 (up 6.6 cents) – even after today’s 5 cents losses, prices are above the week’s opening price.