Fuels Market Watch 24
Exclusive daily fuels market analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi.
Readers, kindly note that we are changing our weekly review to show how the current week has developed. The charts now present hourly price trends from the previous Friday at 9AM EST to the current Friday at 6AM EST, consistent with our daily price trends column.
FUEL MARKETS TODAY – Market Overview
Crude oil futures prices opened lower again in today’s market, but this morning is bringing a revival. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude forward prices opened at $62.18/b today, down by $0.32 (0.51%) from yesterday’s opening price of $62.50/b. Gasoline futures prices also opened lower today. Diesel futures prices strengthened slightly. Oil prices still are up for the week, and currently, they are recouping the small losses. Today could bring a market rally based on the just-released Jobs Report, which showed a robust labor market.
News of this week’s addition to crude oil stockpiles had a dampening effect on prices Wednesday through Thursday. However, prices currently are recovering. Crude oil, gasoline and diesel futures prices all appear to be heading for a week solidly in the black. As of the time of this writing, WTI crude futures prices are up by $2.21/b (3.7%) for the week. Diesel futures prices are up by 4.68 cents/gallon (2.4%) for the week. Gasoline futures prices are up by 5.88 cents/gallon (3.1%) for the week. WTI crude prices have remained steadily above the $60/b level all week, which has not happened since the first week of November.
Will the March Jobs Report be enough to spark a Friday rally? Yesterday’s U.S. economic outlook received a boost from news of a drop of 10,000 in weekly U.S. unemployment applications during the final week of March. Curiosity was aroused as to whether the weekly information would be corroborated by the monthly data, and the answer was yes. Just this morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released an upbeat Monthly Jobs Report for March. The BLS reported that the U.S, economy added a healthy 196,000 jobs in March. Notable job gains occurred in health care and in professional and technical services. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%, which is the lowest rate in nearly 50 years. Economists had predicted job formation of 177,000, so the BLS data exceeded expectations. It also helped overcome the anxiety caused last month when the February Jobs Report showed a mere 20,000 jobs added. Market watchers are keen to label the February data as an anomaly.
Gasoline opened on the NYMEX at $1.9506/gallon today, up by 2.15 cents (1.10%) from yesterday’s opening price of $1.9291 cents/gallon. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, gasoline prices dropped by 1.34 cents (0.69%.) Gasoline forward prices currently have fallen below opening price levels, but they are showing signs of a Friday rally, trading between $1.93-$1.95/gallon. The latest price is $1.9436/gallon.
Diesel opened on the NYMEX at $2.0069/gallon today, down by 0.31 cents (0.15%) from yesterday’s opening price of $2.01/gallon. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, diesel prices fell by 0.64 cents (0.32%.) The downward movement has been arrested this morning. Diesel prices are ticking back up, trading in the $2.01-$2.02/gallon range. The latest price is $2.0184/gallon.
WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE
WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude forward prices opened at $62.50/b today, down by $0.14 (0.22%) from yesterday’s opening price of $62.64/b. Friday’s trading session was the first since November 9th that WTI forward prices closed above $60/b. By Wednesday, prices came close to touching highs of $63/b, but Thursday brought a halt to the strong upward movement. Over the past 24 hours from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, WTI crude prices fell by $0.43 (0.69%.) Currently, crude prices are regaining lost ground, trading between $62.25/b-$62.75/b. The latest price is $62.51/b.