Oil Prices on the Defensive … for Now.

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Daily Settlement Prices

The oil market suffered through its third straight down day, though losses were pared as the day wore on. The primary market focus was on future demand prospects and the health of the European economic system.

Though supply constraints (bullish) dominated market tenor towards the end of May, that view has quickly shifted towards wobbly economic growth (bearish). Technical trading has also come in to view, with the market now flipped to trading below $50. That said, a now nervous oil market is tepidly viewing next week’s British referendum on membership in the European Union as a sign of economic growth and, by default, a bullish sign for oil prices.

July WTI was very soft to open the day, trading down nearly a dollar (just above $48), as Asian equity markets were substantially lower overnight. Those early trades, however, were the lows prints of the day, and the market gradually regained some strength and altitude as the day progressed. The recovery was likely helped by a weak dollar rather than by any pure piece of bullish news. It was a little odd that the dollar was soft, given that a reduction in asset classes elsewhere should result in strength in the dollar.

RBOB once again lagged both WTI and Heating Oil. The contract ultimately settled 19-cents lower at $48.88, though the small loss really didn’t meet the weak and worrisome view of the day. The market is about a dollar above the next, lower technical support level, and this week’s inventory summary should again show a crude oil draw, but certainly oil is on the defensive right now.

Gasoline cash markets weakened in the Midwest, though differentials there remain at very lofty levels. That weakness didn’t seem to impact Gulf Coast or New York Harbor differentials, which substantially lag the Chicago area. July RBOB was down another two cents on Monday (and, cumulatively, over eight cents in two days), whereas July Heating Oil was essentially flat on Monday (like WTI). The NYMEX RBOB / Heating Oil spread is only two cents at this point, down from 10-cents to start the month. That narrowing is more a reflection on weak RBOB than strong Heating Oil

Published by PAPCO, Inc. (PAPCO)

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