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Refined Products

Recap: At the initial onset of Monday's trading, it appeared that the bears had gained control, as October WTI was trading down 3.6 percent on the day. The east coast rising of the sun awakened bulls, who came out of the gate with their hooves dug in and their horns pushing the bears to the sidelines. Their prodding drove the spot contract to a five-week high of $49.33. The red blanket for the bulls was the EIA monthly report, which indicated U.S. production for the first half of the year was lower than originally estimated. According to the report, output for February, March and May was 80,000 barrels per day to 125,000 barrels per day lower than previously reported. October WTI futures settled at $49.20, a gain of $3.98. Brent for October delivery settled at $54.15, up $4.10.

October RBOB was up significantly, gaining 21.7 percent to settle at $1.7012. ULSD for October delivery settled at $1.3971, up 6.84 cents. Crack spreads edged slightly higher today, with the October RBOB crack widening by 30.04 cents to settle at $13.7622. The October ULSD crack settled at $22.2504, for a gain of 64.42 cents.

Fundamental News: The EIA released new data on domestic oil production for the first half of the year based on improved methodology, showing output was as much as 130,000 bpd lower than its initial estimate.  The EIA said its new, survey based production data showed the country pumped 9.3 million bpd in June, down 100,000 bpd from a revised May figure.  It said previously reported monthly data for January through May were revised down by between 40,000 and 130,000 bpd.  The EIA also stated that US domestic oil production peaked at just above 9.6 million bpd in April before falling by more than 300,000 bpd over the following two months.  The EIA also stated that US domestic oil production peaked at just over 9.6 million bpd in April before falling by more than 300,000 bpd over the following two months. 

According to an article in the latest OPEC Bulletin, OPEC is concerned by the decline in oil prices and is ready to talk to other producers. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro will discuss possible mutual steps to stabilize global oil prices during a visit to China this week. 

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said the country expects to finalize the wording for a new model for international oil contracts in the next three weeks.  The Ministry is expected to present the new oil contracts to investors at a conference in London in December.

IIR reported that US oil refiners are expected to shut in 354,000 bpd of capacity in the week ending September 4th, down 419,000 bpd on the week.  IIR expects offline capacity to increase to 594,000 bpd in the week ending September 11th.

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd said it halted its crude oil production after a fire damaged equipment at its facility in northern Alberta on Saturday.  The company said the main coker conversion units were not damaged and Syncrude continues to operate.  However it suspended synthetic crude oil production and is currently developing a recovery plan.  

The Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its 2016 and 2017 average price forecast for Brent crude to $55/barrel and $61/barrel, respectively.  It still sees an oil price rebound and projects the Brent-WTI spread to trade at $2/barrel on average in 2016-17.  The price of WTI crude is expected to average $50.13/barrel in 2015 and $53/barrel in 2016.

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Oct $46.93, down $2.26

RBOB - Sep  $1.4335, down 6.56 cents

ULSD - Sep $1.6415, down 5.92 cents

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Natural Gas

Monday, August 31st, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $2.658, nearly six cents below Friday’s closing price of $2.715.  Roaming within a one-cent range for the first half-hour of the day, prices rose to $2.670 at 9:30AM before dropping to $2.655.  Trading sideways over the next hour, the contract gradually fell to the intraday low of $2.646 at 11:10AM.  From there prices confidently rose to $.2687 at noon. Temporarily withdrawing to the $2.675 level, October soon peaked over $2.670 once again, though only to drift lower for the majority of the afternoon.  Prices surged to the intraday high of $2.692 at 2:20PM, as October closed higher on Monday at $2.689.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was down $1.96; Natural Gas was up two cents; Heating Oil was down six cents; and, Gasoline was down seven cents.

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

Natural Gas Glossary

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