Phil Flynn is writer of The Energy Report, a daily market commentary discussing oil, the Middle East, American government, economics, and their effects on the world's energies markets, as well as other commodity markets. Contact Mr. Flynn at (888) 264-5665
Oil traders have gone bottom fishing in oil on a hot, last summer trading day. While commodity funds reduced long positions last week, it appears that some are already starting to regret it. Oil demand expectations are back on the rise as the Fed looks to cut rates while we will start to see global inventories fall. Even the outlook for shoulder season has crude stock builds perhaps lower than expected as OPEC cuts remain in effect and shale oil producers struggle. There is talk that new pipeline capacity at the end of the year has already been priced in and is one reason oil has not over reacted to increasing geo-political risk in regard to Iran and risk factors in the Strait of Hormuz. Yes, Iran is still holding onto that UK tanker.
All and all, as long as oil holds recent lows, we believe oil could be just off its lows for the rest of this year. OPEC production cuts along with more global economic stimulus will defy normal seasonal price weakness. It is unlikely we will see the return of Venezuelan oil supply anytime soon or Iranian oil for that matter. U.S. shale producers are in major cut back mode and recent drilling activity reports suggest that U.S. oil production will fall short of pumped up market expectations.
We got mixed signals from private intelligence services in regard to Cushing, Oklahoma crude supply. One service reported a massive 1.5 million barrel draw from at the Nymex delivery hub, another one a more modest 106,000 barrels. Quite a spread! Reminds me of the EIA and API reports. Just Kidding.
Big oil surprise! Reuters reports that, “BP’s strong increase in oil and gas production helped them offset weaker crude prices and refining profit to beat second quarter profit expectations on Tuesday, lifting its shares. BP’s result contrasts with Total (TOTF.PA) and Norway’s Equinor (EQNR.OL), which both reported sharp earning drops and builds on a steady recovery following deep cost cuts since the 2014 downturn, project start-ups and last year’s $10.5 billion acquisition of BHP’s U.S. shale assets,” according to the Reuters report.
RBOB prices look like they will rebound from recent lows but despite the loss of that Philadelphia Solutions refinery, gas prices at the retail level are down. AAA as of yesterday put the national average at $2.73. AAA says that while this is two cents more expensive than on the same day last month, it is three cents cheaper than last week and 12-cents less expensive than a year ago. “Gas prices this month are on average a dime less expensive than in July 2018. These less expensive gas prices have encouraged summer road trips as evidenced by robust demand numbers since May,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Right now, pump prices are poised to push even cheaper going into August.” On the week, every state but Michigan saw gas prices trend less expensive. The majority of the top 10 states with the largest weekly declines saw gas prices move a nickel cheaper since last Monday.
Natural gas is still under pressure as record production is matched with the end of the oppressive heat. Short term natural gas prices could face another big price break. Long term, at some point, low prices will cure low prices but that may still be years away.
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