Fuels Market Watch 24

Exclusive daily fuels market analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi.

FUEL MARKETS TODAY – Market Overview

Crude oil prices continued to ease this morning, though the downward trend has levelled. Prices have declined nearly to where they were before Friday’s runup, which propelled crude prices above the $55/b mark for the first time in three months. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude forward prices opened at $54.86/b today, down by $0.46 (0.83%) from yesterday’s opening price of $55.32/b. Gasoline futures prices opened with modest gains today. Diesel prices opened slightly down. Prices for all three continued to fall this morning. However, the downward movement has slowed, and prices appear to be stabilizing.

Events in Venezuela could have the largest impact on global and regional supply in the near term. U.S. President Donald Trump was quick to back the opposition leader Juan Guidó as Interim President, and to impose sanctions on the national oil company, PDVSA. Yesterday, however, the European Union stopped short of announcing support for Guidó. The EU will not launch sanctions against the oil industry directly, believing that this approach could hurt Venezuelan citizens. President Nicolas Maduro has refused international demands that he call for new elections.

The EU decision could relax the market somewhat, since Venezuelan oil will still have access to some (but not all) European customers. Already, however, the U.S. sanctions already are playing havoc with the shipping of oil out of Venezuela. Tankers loaded with approximately 7 million barrels of Venezuelan crude are now afloat in the Gulf of Mexico, some carrying oil purchased before the U.S. imposed sanctions, and some not knowing who to pay. U.S. customers have been directed to pay into specially designed escrow accounts, which reportedly have not yet been set up. The oil revenues purportedly will go to the control of the congress led by Guiadó. In the meantime, however, a humanitarian crisis is feared.

GASOLINE

Gasoline opened on the NYMEX at $1.4395/gallon today, up by 0.44 cents (0.3%) from yesterday’s opening price of $1.4351cents/gallon. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, gasoline prices dropped by 2.94 cents (2.02%.) Prices currently are declining, but perhaps are hitting a plateau. The latest price is $1.4286/gallon.

 
DIESEL

Diesel opened on the NYMEX at $1.9122/gallon today, down by 0.53 cents (0.27%) from yesterday’s opening price of $1.9175/gallon. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, diesel prices declined by 0.75 cents (0.39%.) Diesel prices currently are stabilizing. The latest price is $1.9007/gallon.

 
WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude forward prices opened at $54.86/b today, down by $0.46 (0.83%) from yesterday’s opening price of $55.32/b. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, WTI crude prices declined by $0.37 (0.68%.) Prices are waning this morning, and have been having difficulty remaining above $54/b, but the downward movement appears to have hit a plateau. The latest price is $54.09/b.