Energy Futures are Ticking Quietly Higher

Energy futures are ticking quietly higher to start Tuesday’s session, offsetting Monday’s losses in the early going. The complex continues to look like it’s stuck going nowhere on the charts, so this back and forth action should be expected until something shakes things up.

Trade optimism is getting some credit for the early tick higher, although the daily trade headlines seem to be having less influence on prices than they did earlier in the year.

As energy prices have stalled out in their neutral pattern, their correlation with daily movements in US equity values has started falling apart. In some ways this can be a sign of a healthier market, since each asset class is trading on its own merits vs. simply “risk on” or “risk off”. On the other hand, if energy futures are going to fall under the weight of trade pessimism and not rally when trade optimism is pushing stocks higher, it’s hard to see what will allow them to make a sustained rally near term.

While futures prices seem to be going nowhere, basis values across most US regional spot markets have come under heavy selling pressure in recent days as refineries come back online just in time for a seasonal demand slow-down, and the severe weather that stretched across the country this week puts a damper on harvest demand. The exception to the rule has been the East Coast, where the ongoing threats of a refinery strike at Bayway, a major refinery turnaround at Trainer, on top of missing PES volumes has kept a bid under most contracts.

The EIA this morning highlighted another milestone in the great US transition from importer to exporter as the country now sells oil to more countries than it buys from.

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