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Friday, August 14, 2009

Oil on the edge of collapse?

A lot of breaking news stories seem to be following the trend that I detected some time ago that was fully leading to another collapse in oil prices, and, for some at least, it couldn't happen at a better time.

So, what evidence is there that a collapse is possibly in the works?

Let's look back at the last few weeks to set this one up for you and help you draw that mental picture....

Fact #1: While we have been witness to a small spike in prices during this summer that saw gasoline here in Newfoundland and Labrador reach $1.10.4 a litre just the other day here in St. John's, we simply didn't see a large increase in demand based from prices a lot lower than they were the same time last year. Demand for gasoline has remained flat and now we are at the end of the summer driving season and not a hurricane in sight of the Gulf of Mexico.

Fact #2: Just today, US consumer confidence, in a survey done by Reuters and the University of Michigan and reported by Bloomberg, conclude that consumers south of the border continue to be skeptical over any economic recovery. That means that consumers aren't going to be buying and a delay in any recovery of the economy.

Fact #3: The Energy Information Administration reported a good build in crude oil inventory, albeit a small draw on gasoline. The report also concludes that refiner capacity has dropped again to 83.5 per cent from last week's numbers. Refiners are trying to keep ahead of the massive drop in consumer demand and they're also trying to reign back production so they don't overdo it with current supply. The numbers for distillate fuels don't look much better. Demand for both heating oils and jet fuels has crashed again this week ending the summer dream of increased profits for Big Oil.

Fact #4: The price for Brent type crude oil has surpassed West Texas Intermediate, now resting some Three dollars above WTI as of today. Basically, there is too much inventory floating around, not only in onshore storage tanks but also in tankers, simply waiting for the value of WTI to increase and/or be consumed. It's not!

So, what to expect in the coming weeks?

Look for a mass retreat in prices that some are predicting will bring prices back to where they were in April. Cheap to the consumer and murder on the provincial and federal treasury!
At least, from this perspective, here's hoping the news comes to fruition! It's going to be a couple more weeks before we feel it at the pumps but, needless to say I think we've hit the summer peak.



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