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Refined Products

Recap: Oil fell as the dollar strengthened, trimming yesterday's gains sparked by the 4.2 million barrel decrease in U.S. crude oil inventories. Early in the session, the market extended yesterday's run-up, taking September WTI to a high of $49.36, but as the dollar rose the bullish sentiment dimmed. September WTI settled at $48.52, down 27 cents, while September Brent slipped 7 cents to settle at $53.31.

After rallying 1.2 percent, the expiring August Rbob pared gains to settle at $1.8279, up 0.3 percent. After rising 1 percent, September heating oil slipped back to unchanged to settle at $1.5982.

Fundamental News  The US Senate Energy Committee on Thursday narrowly passed a bill to lift a 40-year-old ban on the export of crude oil with a vote of 12-10.  However the measure faces an uphill battle in getting passed by the full Senate as congressional Democrats remain reluctant to reverse the ban.  They fear it would lead to higher gas prices.

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak told OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri that Russia and OPEC are pursuing the same goals of keeping the oil market balanced and stable.  OPEC's Secretary General said OPEC does not expect world oil prices to fall further.  OPEC expects oil prices to stabilize next year and to remain so over the long term.  However he said it was too early to say when oil prices may rebound.

Norway's DNO said production from its Tawke field in Iraqi Kurdistan had continued after an attack on the Iraq-Turkey pipeline by redirecting volumes for local sales.

Iran's Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said the country needs about $100 billion to bring its oil industry back to the level it was five years ago.

Royal Dutch Shell said it will further cut its 2015 capital investment to $30 billion, down by 20% on the year as it expects the downturn in oil prices to last for several years.

According to a Reuters survey, oil prices are likely to bounce back from six-month lows to end the year higher and increase further in 2016.  The price of Brent crude is set to average $60.60/barrel in 2015 compared with a previous estimate of $62/barrel, and then increase to $69/barrel in 2016.  The price of US crude is expected to average $54.90/barrel in 2015 and $63.80/barrel in 2016. 

Gasoline stocks in independently held storage at the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in the week ending July 30th increased by 1.74% on the week and by 49.2% on the year to 1.113 million tons.  Gasoil stocks increased by 0.03% on the week and by 20.84% on the year to 3.183 million tons while fuel oil stocks increased by 18.05% on the week and by 31.02% on the year to 870,000 tons.  Naphtha stocks increased by 10.53% on the week but fell by 14.63% on the year to 210,000 tons while jet fuel stocks increased by 12.35% on the week and by 79.76% on the year to 764,000 tons.

The Commerce Department reported that GDP expanded at a 2.3% annual rate.  First quarter GDP was revised up to show it increasing at a 0.6% rate.  It also reported that consumer spending grew at a 2.9% rate while the savings rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2%. 

The US Labor Department reported that the number of initial unemployment benefits increased by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000 in the week ending July 25th

Confidence in the euro zone's economy increased unexpectedly to a four-year high in July as sentiment in industry, services and retail improved.  The European Commission's monthly economic sentiment indicator stood at 104 in July, up from 103.5 in June. 

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Sep $47.81, down 71 cents

RBOB - Aug  $1.8327, up 48 points

ULSD - Aug $1.5953, down 29 points

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Natural Gas

On Thursday, July 30th, the September NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts began trading as the prompt month. Upon entering the market at $2.837, roughly five cents below August’s settlement price of $2.886, September soon fell to $2.804.  Finding support near $2.810 at 9:30AM, prices gradually climbed to the $2.82 mark ahead of the weekly storage report.  As soon as the report hit the wire, prices momentarily surged to the intraday high of $2.847, before plummeting as low as $2.792 minutes later.  The contract then found support near $2.790 and traded sideways until noon. The afternoon incurred additional losses, as September retreated lower for the balance of the day; hitting the intraday low of $2.762 at 2:20PM.  September closed lower on Thursday at $2.768.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report published on Thursday showed a 52 BCF injection to storage for the week ended July 24th – slightly below the market estimate of 53 BCF.  Total working gas in storage was reported as 2,880 BCF; 25.5% above this time last year and 3.0% above the five-year average.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down 63 cents; Natural Gas was up a penny; Heating Oil was down slightly; and, Gasoline was up slightly.

New York and New England cash prices were lower across the board.

Natural Gas Glossary

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