Drawdown Across Board In Energy Stockpiles
A drawdown across the board in energy stockpiles as published by the Energy Information Administration, which came as a surprise to traders, took credit for the modest buying seen yesterday in refined products. Although crude oil posted a net decrease in national inventories, the build at Cushing, the delivery point for the WTI futures contract, actually added barrels last week, keeping the crude benchmark in the red for the day. Gas and diesel both posted gains on Wednesday with stocks moving lower by 1.7 million barrels and .6 million barrels respectively.
Lower crude oil prices seem to be weighing on producers as national crude output was down for a second week in a row for the first time since April. Whether or not increased military activity by Iran, the latest of which resulted in a downed US drone, will boost oil prices to the extent that seems to be their motive is yet to be seen. The aerial property damage is only the latest installment of the DC vs Tehran saga with previous episodes touching on increased US troop presence in the area, apparent sabotage of crude oil tankers, and Iran speeding up the production of nuclear materials.
The increased international tensions seems to be working today however, sending bout American and European crude prices higher by almost $2 per barrel. Refined product futures seem to be following the upward move with gas prices adding +$.03 per gallon and diesel rallying almost 4.5 cents.
Refinery runs in PADD 2 stole the show yesterday and toted a 10% bump in production rates last week. This latest bump out of a waterlogged Midwest boosted throughput to a seasonal 5-year high amid regional flood warnings that seem almost commonplace as of late. Furthermore, Ethanol stocks have seen their 5th consecutive weekly decline, as the entire farming industry struggles with the abnormally wet summer.
Crude and diesel futures have broken through their respective 20-day moving averages this morning, a technically significant resistance level that hasn’t been touched since late May. For both contracts, higher prices could be expected should prices settle above said level after today’s trading.