Fundamental Friday: 22 April 2016

Crude oil: U.S. producers have ushered in another week of falling production. For the week of April 15th, suppliers extracted 24,000 b/d less than the week before for a total of 8.953 million b/d. Producers continue to drop barrels from their operations, a trend that has yet to be reversed despite support for the price in the market. After six straight weeks of declines in the estimates, 125,000 b/d have been lost. Crude oil stocks speak of another underlying trend in U.S. oil markets. Last week, stocks increased again up about 2 million barrels to 1.233 billion total barrels. Despite falling output, stored supplies have increased 16.75 million over the duration of the production decline streak. As soon as stocks start to consistently even out week over week, investors can count on a stabilized market when this occurs.

Refinery inputs and operation remained mostly changed from last week.Total crude oil inputs increased by 63,000 b/d to 16.104 million b/d last week. Percent operable increased by just 0.2 percent from the week before sitting at 89.4 percent this week. Average inputs for the month of April have jumped to 16.159 million b/d up from 15.990 million and 15.723 million in March and February. The trend is showing an increase in demand from the refineries as the maintenance season closes.

Despite a failure in Doha, crude oil prices continued their bullish trend this week. The WTI spot price jumped 2.58% to $43.75 with a 2016 high established this week. The Brent spot price also jumped 2.95% to $45.09 with a 2016 high established as well.Over the past 3 months, WTI has grown over 30% and Brent has grown over 40%.

Natural gas: Rig utilization for natural gas remained relatively flat this week. Baker Hughes reported that total rigs dropped from 89 to 88. Total stocks reversed their trend from two weeks ago as last week they grew by 7 bcf to 2484 bcf nearing a local maximum of 2493 bcf in the middle of March. Total natural gas stored underground is still 48.5% over the five-year average a surplus of 811 bcf. Supply and demand changes as estimated by the Energy Information Administration were -1% and 3.7% respectively. This continues the trend from last week. On the other hand, rig change and stock change finally showed a deviation this last week after a streak of moving together.

The Energy Information Administration reported on the news of the expansion of the Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline in New England. The Algonquin Incremental Market addition which is currently under construction will span New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The updated pipe will add 342 mmcf per day to the existing 2,740 mmcf per day.

Natural gas's Henry Hub spot price shot up over 9% in the past week. Trading on Friday ended at $2.256 after a gain of 2.17%. A bullish trend might continue if colder than normal temperatures last for a little longer.

Gasoline: As refineries gear up for more production, gasoline fundamentals are starting to tighten. Total finished gasoline stocks grew 410,000 barrels to 24.825 million barrels total. Total component gasoline stocks fell by 521,000 barrels to 214.826 million barrels total. As refinery inputs continue their upward climb, component stocks have been falling in conjunction from averages of 228 million and 220 million in February and March to 215 million in April so far. Finished gasoline production jumped 170,000 to 9.738 million as product supplied went up in tandem. This category estimated that demand increased by 241,000 to 20.228 million b/d last week. This category was last above 20 million during the week of January 22nd.

Regular gas prices resumed their upward trend this last week. The U.S. average increased by $0.068 to $2.137 per gallon with gains across the board. Diesel prices followed a similar trend. Increases across the board have caused a $0.037 jump to $2.165 per gallon for the average U.S. diesel price. The price trend should continue as demand increases with warmer weather.


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