Fuels Market Watch 24

Exclusive daily fuels market analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi.

FUEL MARKETS TODAY – Market Overview

Crude oil futures prices remained strong at today’s market opening, though the upward price trend is easing in this morning’s trading. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude forward prices opened at $57.22/b today, up by $0.22 (0.39%) from yesterday’s opening price of $57.00/b. Gasoline and diesel futures prices also are remaining firm today, and the week appears ready to end with prices in the black.

At the time of this writing, WTI crude forward prices are up by $1.60/b (2.9%) for the week. Gasoline prices (adjusted for the switch to April contracts) are up by 4.83 cents/gallon (2.8%.) Diesel prices are up by 4.12 cents/gallon (2.1%.) With OPEC and allies moving swiftly to meet (and exceed) their agreed-upon production cuts, oil prices have regained strength, shrugging off this week’s tweet from President Trump that oil prices were too high.

Markets are showing mixed views on the news that U.S. GDP growth increased at a rate below the 3% target promised by the White House, but above what many economists had predicted. December brought a major stock market collapse. Some impacts will not be felt until the first quarter of 2019. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that U.S. GDP increased at a 2.6% annualized rate in the 4th quarter, after expanding at 3.4% in the 3rd quarter. In total, the U.S. economy grew 2.9% in 2018, the highest growth since 2015.

GDP growth is expected to decline somewhat in the first quarter of 2019. However, the Federal Reserve Bank has delivered positive statements to reassure investors. Fed Chair Jerome Powell this week noted higher productivity in 2018, meaning that wages have room to grown in 2019 without risk of inflation. The Fed has backed away from increasing interest rates again anytime soon.

GASOLINE

Gasoline opened on the NYMEX at $1.7521/gallon today, down slightly by 0.36 cents (0.2%) from yesterday’s opening price of $1.7557 cents/gallon. Prices jumped as contracts switched to the next forward month. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, gasoline prices rose by 3.0 cents (1.86%.) Gasoline forward prices currently are stable, trading between $1.74-$1.76/gallon. The latest price is $1.7565/gallon.

DIESEL

Diesel opened on the NYMEX at $2.0248/gallon today, up by 1.64 cents (0.81%) from yesterday’s opening price of $2.0084/gallon. Until last week, diesel forward prices had not been steadily above the $2/gallon level since mid-November. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, diesel prices declined by 0.57 cents (0.08%.) Diesel prices reclaimed the territory above $2/gallon, and prices are remaining in the range of $2.01-$2.03/gallon. The latest price is $2.0243/gallon.

 
WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude forward prices opened at $57.22/b today, by $0.22 (0.39%) from yesterday’s opening price of $57.00/b. Prices had been hitting highs of over $57.50/b on Monday before plunging nearly as low as $55/b on Monday and Tuesday in response to a tweet from President Trump.

Prices recovered since then. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, WTI crude prices rose slightly by $0.06 (0.11%.) Currently, crude prices are stable, holding above $57/b. The latest price is $57.49/b.