Tuesday, WTI crude closed up $1.06/bbl to $37.87, HO closed up $0.0391/gal to $1.1295, and RBOB finished up $0.0434/gal to $1.2760. The gains yesterday appear to be driven by a lack of participants in the market, low liquidity, and the potential cooler weather forecasts. With many traders out during this week due to the holidays, the low volume trading will continue until the New Year, so volatility in prices can be expected.
This winter has been very warm, greatly lowering the demand for heating oil. The forecast into 2016 does not show extremely cold temperatures and snow like past winters, but we should finally start to see cooler temperatures than what we had in November and December.
Last night, the API data was released and it showed a build in crude inventories of 2.9 million barrels, a build of 500,000 barrels in gasoline, and a build of 2.1 million barrels in distillates. This report of builds for all inventories has reversed the gains from yesterday. Currently both refined products are down between two and three cents.
The DOE statistics released at 10:30 AM today mirrored the APIs. The stats showed a build in crude of 2.6 million barrels, with a build of 900,000 barrels in Cushing. There was a build in gasoline of 925,000 barrels, and a build in distillates of 1.8 million barrels. Since the release, prices of both refined products have dropped another penny.