Energy Brief January 28

by Archer Financial Services | Jan 28, 2019
by Steve Platt and Mike McElroy

Price Overview

The petroleum complex came under concerted selling pressure as the market responded to Friday’s increase in US rig counts, along with ongoing concerns the trade dispute betweeen the US and China will adversely affect global economic growth, and in particular China’s growth.  In the background remains the sluggish economic situation in Europe which might also prove to be a drag on trade flows and likewise oil demand.
crude oil chart

The build in US inventory levels remains a background consideration and a constraining influence on values as gas and crude inventories continue to surge.  The need to address the inventory issue remains a source of concern.  There is little concrete evidence that Russia is moving quickly to cut back production and the increase in US rig counts of 10 underscores the importance of US production to the price outlook and global availability in the current year.

Although concerns over the availability of Venezuelan crude might surface, we suspect that any further declines in production might be limited and that the onus will be on OPEC to manage production levels. There already appears to be some loss of Chinese market share by Saudi Arabia to Russia, and the large inventory overhang, particularly of  gasoline, might be a negative influence on values. In addition global economic concerns remain despite the strong recovery in US equities. This should allow values to retest the 49.00 area basis March.  Toward that level, support should emerge as pressure builds on Russia to honor the agreement and adjust production downward. 


Natural Gas

Prices fell sharply as forecasts for cold weather moderated from extreme levels predicted in the 6-10 day on Friday, to a much more moderate outlook in the 10-14 day forecast today.  The stark contrast appeared to catch participants by surprise, with values falling over 5 percent. The swiftness of the decline shows the impact of longer term weather forecasts on values, and that short term changes in the stock outlook can have a significant bearing as well.  The breakdown has the potential to continue in the near term ahead of the February gas expiration tomorrow.  Early estimates for this weeks EIA report are for inventories to decline by 183 bcf compared to 126 last year and 150 on the five year average.  Today’s surprising pullback looks like it could press values down toward the 2.65-2.70 area basis March.

natural gas chart

Charts Courtesy of DTN Prophet X

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