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Refined Products

Recap: . With early morning forecasts calling for Hurricane Joaquin to pass over the New Jersey shore and across the New York harbor, November WTI shot up 4.4 percent, to a high of $47.10. The storm, which strengthened to a Category 3, spread fear that oil infrastructure along the U.S. East Coast, would suffer damage. As later predictions put the eye of the storm would pass further east and out to sea, fear waned, and early buyers loosened their bullish bets. Spot WTI tumbled $2.47, to a low of $44.63 and eventually settled at $44.74, down 35 cents. Brent for November delivery settled at $47.69, down 68 cents. 

After adding almost 5 cents, November RBOB slipped, closing basically unchanged. This spot contract settled at $1.3668. November heating oil reversed yesterday's gains, settling at $1.5198, down 1.76 cents.

Fundamental News: The geopolitical risks surrounding the volatile Syrian crisis escalated today as the Russian military reportedly launched some 20 airstrikes in the region. While Russia claimed it was carrying out strikes against Islamic State militants, the commander of a U.S backed rebel group claimed its training camp had been hit. 

Hurricane Joaquin continued to strengthen near the Bahamas on Thursday. The storm which had been a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday evening, had grown into a Category 3 storm by Thursday morning and by midday Thursday had become a Category 4 storm. Early Thursday morning , the consensus forecast was for the storm to make land fall between North Carolina and Massachusetts, with the center of the track forecast heading toward the New York metropolitan area. However by midday the forecast consensus had moved the forecasted track slightly eastward putting New York harbor out of the direct path of the storm.

Venezuela's largest oil refinery, the 645,000 b/d Amuay Bay, and the 310.000 b/d Cardon refineries both suffered a power outage on Thursday. There were unconfirmed reports that workers were being evacuated from the Amuay facility while the flexicoker and catalytic plant at Cardon were down.

Oil Movements estimates that OPEC oil shipments should increase by 450,000 b/d to the middle of October.

The U.S. Labor Department reported this morning that the number of new applications for U.S. jobless benefits rose modestly last week, increasing by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000. This was the 30th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is usually associated with a strengthening labor market.

ISM reported Thursday morning its index of U.S. factory activity fell to 50.2, its lowest level since May 2013.

The official Chinese manufacturing PMI inched up in September to 49.8 from the previous month's reading of 49.7, though it still suggested economic conditions were  deteriorating albeit at at a slower rate. A private survey by Caixin/Markit, focusing on small and medium factories, which account for 60% of Chinese GDP and provide most of the jobs, showed an even sharper downturn with the PMI shrinking to 47.2, the lowest level since March 2009.

Early Market Call - as of 9:10 AM EDT

WTI - Nov $44.80 Up 6 cents

RBOB - Nov  $1.3283 Down 4.05 cents

ULSD - Nov $1.5032 Down 1.66 cents

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Natural Gas

Thursday, October 1st, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $2.484, four cents below Wednesday’s closing price of $2.524.  Emerging evenly into the market, prices lingered near the $2.49 mark until falling to $2.472 at 10:00AM. Recovering soon thereafter as the 10:30AM weekly storage report approached.  Bringing news of an injection that matched analysts’ expectations, the contract fluctuated within a two-cent range before ascending to the intraday high of $2.507 at 10:40AM.  Selling then took hold, as prices cascaded lower for the balance of the day.  Reaching the intraday low of $2.431 at 2:20PM, November closed lower on Thursday at $2.433.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report published on Thursday showed a 98 BCF injection to storage for the week ended September 25th – level with the market estimate.  Total working gas in storage was reported as 3,538 BCF, 14.7% above this time last year and 4.5% above the five-year average.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was up 20 cents; Natural Gas was flat; Heating Oil was down a penny; and, Gasoline was down three cents.

Cash prices were lower in New York and higher in New England.

Natural Gas Glossary

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