By Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices were volatile this week, but today’s opening price of $50.66/b left the market in the black relative to Monday’s opening price of $50.23/b. WTI opened above $50/b each day this week, and Thursday’s opening price of $51.40 was the highest since June 9. Last night’s rebound is now tailing off, but if the trends persist, WTI will stay in the $50/b+ territory for the week. Distillate and gasoline prices have shown similar volatility, though they are weaker since Monday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Algiers agreement continues to shape the market, along with supportive statements from Russia. Oil output continues at high levels, yet the agreement has enough credibility that WTI prices have been elevated to $50/b territory, and have even surged above $51/b.

WTI prices opened at $50.23/b on Monday. They trended up to open at $51.40 on Thursday. Friday morning’s opening WTI price was $50.66/b. From Monday’s opening to Friday’s opening, prices rose by $0.43, or 1%. WTI’s price variability went from a low of $49.47/b on Monday to a high of $51.93/b on Wednesday, a range of approximately $2.50/b.

Distillate prices opened Monday at $1.5665/gallon. Prices rose to open at $1.5874 on Thursday before falling, and they opened at $1.5625 this morning. This is a modest decrease of 0.4 cents, or -0.3%, since Monday’s opening.

Gasoline reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending (RBOB) prices opened Monday at $1.4995/gallon. Prices rose to open at $1.5136/gallon on Thursday before relinquishing the week’s gains. RBOB opened at $1.4962/gallon this morning. This is a small decline 0.33 cents, or -0.2%, since Monday’s opening.