Crude oil nearbys moved strongly higher on fears of retaliation from the United Sates against Syria for ongoing violence and the use of chemical weapons. News of unrest in Egypt had initially elevated pricing for both Brent and WTI, but as the war drums bang in North Africa and the Middle East, concerns over the Suez Canal forced both flavors of crude to spike Wednesday.
Meanwhile, retail gasoline and diesel fuel firmed only slightly adding one half cent to gasoline and a penny to diesel fuel. But elevated crude suggests thinner margins for refiners and may lead to more sanguine upside action in the coming week.
Crude Oil --
October 2013 WTI crude oil opened Wednesday at $109.22 and rose to $112.24 before fading to end the day at $109.25 -- up 3 cents all told.
U.S. crude inventories firmed 3.0 million barrels to 362.0 million barrels -- now 2.5 million barrels behind year-ago.
October 13 Brent crude oil futures opened Wednesday at $117.07 and spent the day trying to chop higher, ending the day at $115.85.
Currently, the WTI/Brent crude spread stands at $6.60 with Brent on top -- 99 cents wider than the same time last week.
According to EIA, the U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline increased less than one cent to remain at $3.55 per gallon as of August 26, 2013, 22 cents lower than last year at this time. Prices increased by two cents in the Midwest to $3.52 per gallon, and by one cent on the Gulf Coast to $3.38 per gallon, while decreasing in all other regions. The West Coast price is $3.75 per gallon, down three cents from last week. The Rocky Mountain price is lower by two cents at $3.62 per gallon. Rounding out the regions, the East Coast price is down less than a penny to remain at $3.55 per gallon.
The national average diesel fuel price increased one cent to $3.91 per gallon, 18 cents lower than last year at this time. Prices increased one cent in the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Rocky Mountain regions, to $3.93 per gallon, $3.83 per gallon, and $3.93 per gallon, respectively. In the Midwest and West Coast regions, prices are $3.88 per gallon and $4.07 per gallon, respectively, up two cents from last week, according to EIA.
Farm Diesel moved 1/4 cent higher according to Inputs Monitor data to a regional average of $3.421/gallon with six of the twelve states in our index unchanged. The highest price was recorded in the state of North Dakota at $3.59, up a dime over last week, while Ohio captured the regionwide low at $3.29 -- up a penny on the week.
According to EIA, total U.S. inventories of propane increased 0.2 million barrels from last week to end at 62.1 million barrels, but are 9.6 million barrels (13.4 percent) lower than the same period a year ago. Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories each gained by 0.1 million barrels, while East Coast inventories increased slightly. Midwest inventories decreased by 0.1 million barrels.
Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 4.5 percent of total propane inventories.
LP moved 1 1/2 cents lower in the Inputs Monitor Index to $1.388. The lowest priced LP in our index is in North Dakota at $1.23 while the high mark is at $1.75 in Michigan. If you have yet to book fall dryer needs, check your local prices and consider topping off before prices move higher.
The national distillate supply fell 0.3 million barrels to 129.0 -- 3.0 million barrels above year-ago.
Data, graphs and partial text provided by EIA.