Crude Oil --
February 2014 WTI crude oil opened this morning at $97.17 and ranged generally higher through the day. A midmorning nod to the downside set off a round of trader activity that moved the contract back upward to $97.30. Strong resistance lies at $97.84. A move above that would make bulls next target the December high of $100.79 and beyond that, $101.81. Next support is at $93.65 and below that, $91.47.
U.S. crude inventories gained 6.4 million barrels to 357.6 million barrels -- now 11.4 million barrels below year-ago.
March 2014 Brent crude oil futures opened today at $107.39 and chopped generally sideways through the day to end 37 cents higher at $107.76. Next support remains at $105.09. A move below those levels would suggest downside potential below $103.00. Resistance lies at $108.24 with stops every 50 cents along the way to psychological $110.00.
The WTI/Brent crude spread narrowed $1.35 on the week to $10.22 at the open, with Brent on top.
Home Heat --
- Residential heating oil 12 cents higher on the week to $4.18/gallon.
- Wholesale heating 18 cents higher on the week at $3.39/gallon.
- Residential propane firmed $1.05 to $4.01/gallon.
- Wholesale propane $1.43 higher to $3.55/gallon.
Gasoline steady, highway diesel firms, farm diesel unchanged.
The U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline decreased less than one cent to remain at $3.30 per gallon as of January 27, 2014, six cents lower than last year at this time. Prices increased by two cents in the Midwest to $3.22 per gallon and decreased one cent in all other regions of the nation. The Gulf Coast price was $3.09 per gallon, the Rocky Mountain price fell to $3.13 per gallon, the East Coast price was $3.38 per gallon, and the West Coast price was $3.49 per gallon, according to EIA.
The national average diesel fuel price was up three cents to $3.90 per gallon, two cents lower than last year at this time. Prices increased in all regions of the nation. The largest increase occurred on the East Coast where the price rose five cents to $4.00 per gallon. The Midwest price increased four cents to $3.87 per gallon and the West Coast price was $3.98 per gallon, up one cent from last week. Both the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain prices were up a fraction of a penny to remain at $3.77 per gallon and $3.86 per gallon, respectively, according to EIA.
Farm Diesel was unchanged on the week, currently at $3.40 1/2. The regionwide low currently lies at $3.30 in Nebraska and the Midwest high is at $3.58 in Wisconsin.
U.S. propane stocks fell by 3.6 million barrels to end at 31.7 million barrels last week, 25.8 million barrels (44.9%) lower than a year ago. Midwest and Gulf Coast inventories both decreased by 1.4 million barrels. East Coast inventories dropped by 0.6 million barrels and Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 11.7% of total propane inventories, according to EIA.
The average residential propane price jumped by $1.05 per gallon last week to $4.01 per gallon, almost $1.72 per gallon higher than the same period last year. This is the largest single weekly increase since the survey began in 1990. Ten states (all located in the Midwest) in the residential propane survey had price increases of 97 cents per gallon or more during the week ending January 27, 2014, EIA said.
LP is at an average of $4.09/gallon regionally, but the expectation is for higher prices ahead or at least limited downside potential. The winter weather that has paralyzed the South will place an extra, unexpected draw on LP supplies and may exacerbate the current situation in the short-run. The lowest priced LP in our index is in Michigan at $2.97 while the high mark is at $5.17 in Wisconsin, but LP pricing is hard to pigeonhole these days.
The national distillate supply fell 4.6 million barrels to 116.2 -- now 14.5 million barrels behind year-ago.
Graphs and indicated text provided by EIA.