Crude Oil --
September 2013 WTI crude oil futures opened today at $105.26 and the chart looks suspiciously similar to the Brent chart. This is an unsettling development as WTI priced at parity with Brent would be price negative for American petroleum products including gasoline and diesel fuel. This contract is at the top if it's range over the last five days, and despite news of a nearly half million barrel addition to storage, WTI continues to climb.
U.S. crude stocks gained another 0.4 million barrels to 364.6 million barrels -- now just 9 million barrels behind year-ago.
To the good, natural gas pricing has fallen even farther in response to increased crude production and prices are within our 'go' range, opening today at $3.45 and trailing. As crude corrects from recent upside action, natgas futures are expected to respond with a flare up of their own. But once again, we see natgas fall as WTI gains.
September natgas continues its bear run, currently at $3.39.
September 13 Brent crude oil futures opened today at $105.26 and have moved higher for most of the day currently just shy of $108.00 for the second time today. A break above $108.00 would open upside potential to $115.00. Support lies at $102.75.
Currently, the WTI/Brent crude spread stands at $1.54 with Brent on top.
According to EIA, the U.S. average retail price of regular gasoline decreased four cents to $3.65 per gallon as of July 29, 2013, up 14 cents from last year at this time. Prices fell in all regions except the Rocky Mountains, where the price increased two cents to $3.64 per gallon. The Midwest price is $3.58 per gallon, a decrease of nine cents from last week. The Gulf and West Coast prices both dropped three cents, to $3.48 per gallon and $3.93 per gallon, respectively. Rounding out the regions, the East Coast price is down a penny to $3.65 per gallon.
The national average diesel fuel price increased one cent to $3.92 per gallon, 12 cents higher than last year at this time, and the highest price since mid-April. Prices rose in all regions, with the largest increase coming in the Rocky Mountains, where the price is up five cents to $3.91 per gallon. The East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast prices all increased one cent, to $3.93, $3.89, and $4.05 per gallon, respectively. Rounding out the regions, the Gulf Coast price is up less than a penny to $3.85 per gallon.
Farm Diesel moved 2 cents higher according to Inputs Monitor data to a regional average of $3.378/gallon with two of the twelve states in our index unchanged. The highest price was recorded in the state of South Dakota at $3.62, unchanged over last week, while Missouri captured the regionwide low at $3.16.
Total U.S. inventories of propane increased 1.9 million barrels from last week to end at 61.3 million barrels, but are 6.2 million barrels (9.1 percent) lower than the same period a year ago. The Gulf Coast and Midwest regions led the gain, with each rising by 0.8 million barrels. Rocky Mountain/West Coast stocks increased by 0.2 million barrels, and East Coast stocks increased by 0.1 million barrels. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 4.8 percent of total propane inventories.
LP moved 2 cents higher in the Inputs Monitor Index to $1.34. The lowest priced LP in our index is in Nebraska at $1.19 while the high mark is at $1.69 in Michigan.
The national distillate supply fell 1/2 million barrels to 126.0 -- 1.7 million barrels above year-ago.