All eyes are on the U.S. House of Representatives today, as our nation tries to close the books on the topic of healthcare. Congress is in session again, to determine whether the Affordable Care Act should be changed, replaced or left the way it is. It is clear that the Trump administration wants “Obamacare” gone completely, but the question at hand is, “how will the market react to a major shift in healthcare policy, or the lack thereof.”
A day after digesting the Department of Energy stats and after many days and weeks of volatility the market seems to be taking a breather thus far today with all oil market indices except RBOB (down ~ $.0100) hovering somewhat flat. As was reported in this space yesterday, the DOE stats were in-line with Tuesday afternoon's American Petroleum Institute numbers. The consensus among both reports were builds in crude stocks with draws in both refined products. This latest inventory report is again raising questions about compliance by OPEC nations and Russia to cut production. As one European analyst stated, “Headwinds from rising production and compliance issues will keep the upside limited for now.” He went on to add that risks were “skewed to the downside.” At yesterday’s settle, crude finished down $0.0020 to settle at $48.04 while heating oil and RBOB also finished down to close at $1.4968 and $1.6019, respectively.
Yesterday, the expiring April WTI contract closed down $0.88 to $47.34/bbl, RBOB closed down $0.0061 to $1.6052/gal, and HO finished down $0.0108 to $1.5033/gal. The market was weak across the board yesterday over concerns of the continuing increase in U.S. crude inventories. The weakness continued last night into this morning due to the API statistics released yesterday afternoon. The API stats showed a build in crude inventories of 4.5 million barrels. Cushing, OK contributed 2 million barrels of the overall build, as well as reaching over 92% capacity; a very bearish stat for WTI. Refined products both showed a draw; distillates 883,000 barrels and gasoline 4.9 million barrels.
Does anyone have some room for crude oil? Oil prices reversed to trade lower mid-morning as the major U.S. stock market indexes sharply sold off despite a weaker U.S. dollar. But a larger component could be attributed to the swelling U.S. crude inventories and concern that we’re running out of available storage capacity.
January 3rd, 2017 marked the day that the U.S. dollar hit its highest peak in fourteen years. As of today the U.S. Dollar is down 4% from its January apex of 103.8. The falling of the U.S. dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities more expensive compared to buying them in other currencies, which contributes to the inverse relationship between the dollar and oil pricing. The website “Market Realist” reported the following contributors to the dollar’s strengthening until this recent 4% decline: