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Refined Products

Recap: Oil futures bounced off of a one-week low after the International Energy Agency raised its demand growth estimate, citing rising demand, which in turn will eat away at the global oversupply. However, gains were limited by an unexpected 2.3 million barrel increase in U.S. crude oil stocks. February WTI, which expires on Friday, traded on moderate volume within an 85 cent range before settling at $52.37, up 29 cents, or 0.6%. March Brent gained 24 cents, or 0.45%, to settle at $54.16.  

February RBOB slipped 1.4 cents, or 0.9%, to $1.535 a gallon, while February heating oil  rose nearly a cent, or 0.6%, to $1.618 a gallon.

Fundamental News:  The IEA reported in its monthly oil market report that world oil markets are slowly tightening as demand increases while investors wait to see if production cuts agreed to by OPEC and other producers will be implemented as promised.  The IEA said output cuts announced by OPEC and non-OPEC producers have entered their probation period.  It said the oil market would continue to tighten, stabilizing prices and depleting stocks, if OPEC and fellow producers were able to produce close to their promised limits.  The agency said stronger oil demand has led it to increase its estimate of global oil demand growth over the last year by 110,000 bpd to 1.5 million bpd.  This year the agency expects world demand growth of about 1.3 million bpd.  It also stated that oil production in the US and other countries outside of OPEC were beginning to respond to higher prices since the announcement of the OPEC production cuts. 

Separately, the head of the IEA, Fatih Birol, said he expects US shale oil output to rebound by as much as 500,000 bpd over the course of 2017.  On average, the IEA said it expects US light tight production to grow by 170,000 bpd in 2017 after falling by nearly 300,000 bpd in 2016. 

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister, Khalid Al Falih, said OPEC wants a lasting partnership with Moscow.   

The Joint Organizations Data Initiative reported that Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports in November increased to 8.258 million bpd from 7.636 million bpd in October.  It reported that the country's oil production increased by 95,000 bpd to 10.72 million bpd in November.  Its domestic crude refinery throughput fell by 380,000 bpd to 2.184 million bpd in November.  Its crude stocks fell by 2.22 million barrels to 274.366 million barrels in November. 

Azeri President, Ilham Aliyev, said Azerbaijan would support additional cuts to global oil crude oil production if such a decision is made by other oil producers within and outside of OPEC. 

Gasoline stocks independently held in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp hub in the week ending January 19th increased by 6.22% on the week and by 18.83% on the year to 1.161 million tons.  Gasoil stocks increased by 9.62% on the week but fell by 8.85% on the year to 3.224 million tons while fuel oil stocks fell by 2.49% on the week and by 44.1% on the year to 706,000 tons. 

Ethanol futures fell on Thursday after the EIA showed that production increased to surpass the prior week's record.  Ethanol production increased by 5,000 bpd to 1.05 million bpd, according to the EIA.  It was higher than expected and lifted inventories by 1.11 million barrels to 21.12 million barrels. 

Early Market Call - as of 9:00 AM EDT

WTI - Feb $52.55 up $1.18

RBOB - Feb $1.5736 up 3.89 cents

HO - Feb $1.6524 up 3.41 cents

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Natural Gas

Thursday, January 19th, saw the front-month NYMEX Natural Gas Futures Contracts open at $3.269, three cents below Wednesday’s closing price of $3.302.  Trading within a penny of the day’s opening mark, with the exception of a brief drop to the intraday low of $3.257, prices held near $3.280 as the 10:30AM weekly storage release approached.  Climbing gradually to reach as high as $3.336 as the report hit the wire, a momentary reprieve then saw prices mount a steady ascent to reach the intraday high of $3.404 by midday.  Trailing lower into the afternoon, February closed higher on Thursday at $3.368.

The EIA Natural Gas Storage Report published on Thursday showed a 243 BCF withdrawal from storage for the week ended January 13th – nearly even to the market estimate of 240 BCF.  Total working gas in storage was reported as 2,917 BCF, 12.9% below this time last year and 2.6% below the five-year average.

This morning in Globex, WTI Crude was up 81 cents; Natural Gas was down seven cents; Heating Oil was up two cents; and, Gasoline was up three cents.  Additionally, cash prices were lower in New York and higher in New England.

 Natural Gas Glossary                                                                                                       

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