Ransquawk Energy Markets Commentary - Nov. 21, 2007

Discussion in 'Energy Futures' started by Ransquawk, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. Ransquawk

    Ransquawk ET Sponsor

    Energy futures are trading lower today on a rebounding dollar (although the dollar is off more than 1% against the yen), weak U.S. equities after the FOMC lowered the bottom end of its 2008 GDP forecast yesterday, comments by Treasury Secretary in an interview with the WSJ that the number of potential U.S. home defaults will be significantly bigger next year than this year and expectations for builds in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories last week.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson told the WSJ that the nature of the problem with U.S. home defaults “will be significantly bigger next year because 2006 (mortgages) had lower underwriting standards, no amortization and no down payments.” This comes after the FOMC yesterday with the release of its Oct. 30-31 minutes lowered its GDP growth forecast for next year because of tightness in mortgage market, weakness in the housing market and costlier oil. Earlier this month both the International Energy Agency and OPEC lowered their world oil demand growth forecasts for Q4 by 500K b/d and 100K b/d, respectively, because of expectations that a U.S. economic slowdown will restrain petroleum demand.

    Regarding OPEC, the Venezuela oil minister, Ramirez, said late yesterday according to Reuters that “OPEC has sufficient production levels, there is a lot of oil in the market.” Additionally, he said that “the oil market is fundamentally affected by the evolution of the dollar, by the mortgage crisis in the U.S., which is creating lots of speculation and geopolitical tension.”

    Elsewhere, Iran’s President, Ahmadinejad, reiterated today in a speech that Iran will make no concessions on its nuclear program. Next week Iran’s new nuclear negotiator, Jalili, and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Solana, are scheduled to meet to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. Solana will report to the U.N. later this month. Security Council members have agreed that if both U.N. El-Baradei’s and EU Solana’s reports were unfavourable on Iran's nuclear compliance, they would move forward with a third round of sanctions against Tehran.

    Royal Dutch Shell said today that its 155K b/d Scotford plant in Alberta, Canada, is running at reduced rates for a third day after a fire. A company spokesperson said that the affected units have been shut down and assessment and repair planning are underway. Valero said yesterday that it shut a fluid catalytic cracking unit at its Memphis, Tennessee, refinery for 10 days for unplanned maintenance, halting 65K b/d of gasoline and 35K b/d of distillate output.

    On the weather front, Accuweather wrote today that warmth will linger through Thursday in the major cities along the Eastern Seaboard before a cold front erases the warm air by Friday. For the Midwest, the forecaster said that a series of low pressure centers riding along a sharp cold front will spread rain from the South Central states to the lower Great Lakes today. Noticeably colder air following the front will allow a changeover to snow to take place from northeastern Kansas to northern Illinois, including Chicago.

    Today the EIA releases its weekly petroleum data. According to a major wire survey, crude inventories are expected at +750K barrels, gasoline inventories at +950K barrels and distillate inventories are -450K barrels. The refinery utilization rate is seen up 0.5%. Additionally, natural gas inventories are expected at +3 Bcf. A Platt’s survey sees crude inventories up 700K barrels, gasoline inventories up 700K barrels, distillate inventories down 300K barrels and natural gas inventories up 1 Bcf.

    At 12:00 p.m. BST WTI crude futures are down $0.27 to $97.76 after rising to as high as $99.29 overnight. RBOB gasoline futures are down 1.3 cents to 243.85 and heating oil futures are down 1 cent at 268.03. Natural gas futures are down 3.1 cents to $7.446.

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