Another Red Day For Energy Futures

It’s another red day for energy futures as global economic concerns are winning the daily tug-of-war for price direction as they have in 8 out of the last 10 trading sessions.

A flurry of conflicting headlines Friday about Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, had prices bouncing back and forth, but ultimately pessimism over demand seems to have outweighed rumors of the next supply disruption for the time being.

The exception to that rule is the West Coast where gasoline prices continue to diverge from the rest of the country, with LA spot values reaching a $1.10/gallon premium to RBOB futures, while San Francisco spots hit $1.20/gallon over. Strange as it may seem, this could be the most notable impact of the Saudi attacks, as tankers rush to replace Asian demand, making imports to resupply the US West coast more scarce.

Ethanol prices were also rallying last week as severe weather across the Midwest threatened to make a bad year for many farmers even worse. The USDA’s crop progress report is due out this morning and will give the latest indication on how the rain-delayed season is progressing.

6 more oil rigs were taken off-line last week according to Baker Hughes weekly rig count. A WSJ article Sunday suggests that the US Shale boom is coming to an end as lower rig counts coincide with a drop off in per-well production.

Money managers remain skeptical on oil prices, cutting back slightly on their net long positions in Brent and WTI last week, while making modest increases to their long bets in refined products.

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