Quiet Ending Overshadowed Volatile Session

If you only looked at the settlement prices Monday, you may have thought it was a quiet day for energy futures with gasoline and diesel prices moving by less than half a cent. That quiet ending overshadowed another volatile session however that saw March RBOB futures have an 8 cent swing, while ULSD had “only” a 5.5 cent high to low range before ending the day nearly unchanged.

The sell-off ever since futures touched 2019 highs Sunday night suggests that traders still lack the conviction to break out of the sideways pattern that’s held prices for nearly 4 weeks. The longer this back and forth action continues, the more it seems that the spring is coiling, setting us up for a bigger move once the inevitable breakout takes place.

Refinery issues continue to be a key driver of the price action in futures and cash markets around the country, even while headline writes try to figure out a way to pin every move on the latest guess about the fallout from Venezuelan sanctions. While the two Sunday fires at PBF plants in Toledo and Delaware city sparked an early buying spree in futures, Monday’s most notable event came from weekend issues at the Chevron plant in Richmond CA that sent some west coast spot gasoline prices up more than 20 cents on the day.

The EIA published a new note on a fringe impact of the shale boom this morning: the US becoming the world’s key exporter of ethane. Remember that the next time you drink from a plastic bottle.


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