Crude: more demand and less supply

Charts, Commentary, Crude oil, News, Technical Analysis

September 13, 2017 • Reprints

While Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the energy markets assess the short-term demand destruction, in the bigger picture for energy, we are getting very bullish data in supply versus demand. All major reporting agencies, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), The Energy Information Agency(EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) are reporting that we are seeing more demand and supply, which should set the stage for an end of year rally especially when we go full-scale recovery phase in the storm impacted areas.

The IEA was the latest to give oil a boost as I predicted it would, raised its global oil demand forecast. The IEA raised its global oil demand forecast by very strong 1.6 million barrels a day while admitting that OPEC compliance to production cuts have improved. As I have written before, the IEA is notorious for underestimating demand and had to once again raise their forecast. I think that they are still underestimating global demand and will have to raise it again even though 1.6 million barrels a day increase is extremely large year over year growth by historical standards. The IEA said that oil demand increased by 2.3 million barrels per day, or 2.4 %, in the second quarter of 2017 In 2018. The IEA is predicting growth of 1.4 million barrels per day or 1.4 %, which we also think is low.

The Energy Information Administration also once again lowered the forecast for U.S. oil production as shale oil producers have pulled back and are having a tough time overcoming the steep shale oil decline rate. The EIA lowered their 2017 production estimate to 9.25 million barrels a day from 9.35 million barrels a day in 2017. It also lowered its forecast for 2018 to 9.84 million barrels a day down from 9.91 million barrels a day and down from a previous forecast that was over 10 million barrels a day. The EIA also raised their U.S. oil demand forecast to 20.38 million barrels a day up from 20.3 million barrels. This comes as all reporting agencies saw an improvement in OPEC compliance, even OPEC themselves.

Not only did we see OPEC production fall for the first time in 4 months, OPEC and other reporting agencies instead saw demand exceptions for OPEC crude. OPEC production fell to 30.004 million barrels a day excluding Libya, Nigeria as Saudi Arabia oil production fell to 9.95 million barrels a day according to the Saudis. OPEC raised its oil demand growth estimate for 2017 to 1.42 million barrels a day up 50,000 barrels a day putting global demand at 96.8 million barrels a day.

In a nut shell, all agencies are seeing more supply and less production. Storm related demand destruction and seasonal factors is very bullish into year end.

Natural gas is up with pipeline delays and less impact on energy infrastructure than feared. Andy Weissman says that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have led to an inflection point in the natural gas storage trajectory, with a total net estimated demand loss of 70 Bcf, sharply reducing the extent of upside pressure likely later this fall. Nevertheless, the front-month contract rallied earlier this week on smaller-than-feared Irma impact, potential delays to Rover Phase 1b, and bullish weather shifts. The October natural gas contract has closed between $2.88 and $3.07/MMBtu for longer than a month. While the most-likely scenario is for continued range-bound trading, if support or resistance fails, a significant price movement becomes likely. By late fall, a potentially sharp increase in weather-driven demand for natural gas, augmented by a ramp-up in LNG exports, could propel NYMEX futures higher. Electricity futures may succumb and move lower with seasonal demand, particularly if natural gas prices break lower in the near term.

The grain report was bearish for beans and corn as the yields came in at or higher than expectations. We also saw acres come in higher. Wheat was a bit more friendly. DTN reported that corn prices fell after USDA increased its average yield estimate in the September report. This pushed corn production to 14.184 billion bushels. Ethanol futures were mixed to mostly lower on the weakness in corn, although the firm RBOB gasoline market did draw some buyers back into the energy complex.

Reuters reports the use of ethanol in gasoline will go nationally by 2020, state media reported on Wednesday citing a government document, as Beijing intensifies its push to boost industrial demand for corn and clean up choking smog. It’s the first time the government has set a targeted timeline for pushing the biofuel, known as E10 and containing 10 % corn, across the world’s largest car market, although it has yet to announce a formal policy. Mandates requiring that a minimum amount of biofuel must be blended into fuel for the nation’s cars, similar to the United States and Brazil, are currently set at a provincial level. “This news has greatly boosted confidence inside the industry,” said Michael Mao, an analyst with Sublime China Information, adding that without government support ethanol would likely be too expensive to survive in the market.

About the Author

Senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. He is one of the world’s leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets. His precise and timely forecasts have come to be in great demand by industry and media worldwide and his impressive career goes back almost three decades, gaining attention with his market calls and energetic personality as writer of The Energy Report. You can contact Phil by phone at (888) 264-5665 or by email at Learn even more on our website

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