Energy traders should get used to seeing oil prices head higher. Oil demand is coming back and expectations are high that China’s demand is about to skyrocket. WTI crude shrugged off an EIA crude oil report that contained a shockingly massive build. Refinery shutdowns were widely known but the 18.96 million build was much larger than all expectations. Troubling weather on the West Coast has hampered some gasoline demand last week, while distillate demand improved.
Crude exports are slumping, posting the largest decline since May 2021, but some of that could be attributed to year-end buying. Production edged higher, but expectations remain that US output will remain around these levels
A two-hour grounding will deliver a little hit for jet fuel demand, but expectations are high for travel trends to continue to improve. Oil is heading higher and it might not take much to propel WTI back above the $80 a barrel level.
Gold prices are doing much of anything ahead of the December inflation report. Fed rate hike expectations are leaning towards a 25bp rate increase at the February 1st FOMC meeting and the March 22nd gathering appears to be a tossup between another small hike or a hold. Gold’s recent rally has made an eight-month high and it could extend further if disinflation trends remain firmly in place.
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