Fuels Market Watch 24

Exclusive daily fuels market analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi.

FUEL MARKETS TODAY – Market Overview

Oil prices rose over the past 24 hours, with refined products out-performing crude oil. WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude prices in today’s trading session opened at $69.71/b, up by $0.39 from yesterday’s opening. Gasoline and diesel prices also rose, opening more strongly than crude today. An early morning surge in prices is currently fading, apparently a round of profit-taking, but prices remain above yesterday’s levels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released official statistics on oil inventories, showing across-the-board drawdowns of crude (2.566 mmbbls,) gasoline (1.554 mmbbls) and diesel (0.837 mmbbls.) Earlier information from the American Petroleum Institute (API) indicated a tiny (0.038 mmbbls) buildup of U.S. crude inventories. The official data was much more bullish, causing a runup in prices.

The oil complex headed up further when Iran warned that, if it was not allowed to export oil via the Strait of Hormuz, no one would be. An estimated 30% of seaborne crude oil traverses this strait, one of the world’s key oil chokepoints. U.K. Brent crude responded quickly to the threat, rising above $77/b. WTI crude prices rose above $70/b. Iran has threatened to close this chokepoint in the past, and markets usually respond to the risk, even when it appears a bit distant. Alaa al-Yasiri, the Director-General of Iraq’s national oil company (SOMO,) stated that OPEC would discuss ways to replace lost Iranian supplies. In late 2016, Iraq was reluctant to participate in the OPEC production cut agreement, though ultimately it joined the pact. Iraq now seeks to expand production and exports. Some Iraqi supplies have the benefit that they do not need to be shipped through the Strait.

GASOLINE

Gasoline opened on the NYMEX at $2.123 today, 3.58 cents above yesterday’s opening. Over the last 24-hour period from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, gasoline prices rose by 3.19 cents/gallon (1.53%.) Currently, gasoline prices are handing back an early jump in price. The latest price is $2.1113/gallon.

DIESEL

Diesel opened on the NYMEX at $2.2461/gallon today, up by 3.02 cents from yesterday’s opening. Over the last 24-hour period from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, diesel prices rose by 1.86 cents/gallon (0.83%) Currently, diesel prices are trading up and down, holding the gains. The latest price is $2.2471/gallon.

WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude prices opened on the NYMEX at $69.71/b today, up by $0.39 from yesterday’s opening price. Over the last 24-hour period from 9AM EST to 9AM EST, crude prices rose by $0.80/b (1.16%.) Currently, crude prices are retreating from an early-morning surge, but they are holding yesterday’s gain. The latest price is $69.78/b.