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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Numbers show a hike in prices for Thursday

Here's what I have for Thursday price changes this week:

  • Heating and stove oils show an increase of 1.66 cents a litre. Remember that the heating oil numbers are thrown off a little because of the use of jet fuel in the winter mix.
  • Diesel shows a 1.4 cent a litre increase on the way, and...
  • Gasoline shows an increase of 1.3 cents a litre upwards.

Just a few factors of note these last two weeks:

  • A drop in refiner capacity down to 80% from the previous weeks 81%.
  • A drop in inventories of distillates that includes diesel and all heating fuels. Crude oil and gasolines also showed substantial draws against inventories.
  • The Canadian dollar has gained almost two cents against the US greenback, partially insulating consumers from a more substantial increase in prices.

That's it from me!

Regards and Happy New Year!

George Murphy

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Numbers are up a little

Here's what I have, leading into the New Years break in the markets:

There will be some slight increases in prices this coming Thursday and they should be a little stronger than what I have here as my numbers are based on thirteen days of data rather than the fourteen needed.

  • Heating and stove oils show a 1.48 cent a litre increase.
  • Diesel shows a 1.2 cent a litre increase, and...
  • Gasoline shows a 1.2 cent a litre increase.

I'll be posting more here in an official release late tonight or early tomorrow morning, with the final numbers we'll see for the week's price changes.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No movement in prices

Just in case you may have been wondering, the increases in prices are averaging in the tenths of cents since oil started creeping up again.

That's not enough to warrant any use of the interrupter formula...

I'll be posting here sometime next Tuesday night with numbers for the scheduled price change for Thursday.

Have a good Christmas on that news!



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Call it an early Christmas present
Numbers still down for all fuels

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, December 15, 2009- Consumers will see an early Christmas present this Thursday morning when the PUB moves to adjust prices based on the last two weeks of market activity, that’s from George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“The last day of market trading are in and the predictions will hold true that we will be getting a break on all, if not most, fuels that the Pub regulates,” said Murphy, group researcher for the group.” We’re looking at a significant drop in gasoline prices of close to four cents a litre at the pumps. The heating and stove oil numbers show a drop of 1.2 cents a litre while diesel shows a drop of 1.3 cents a litre is coming.”

“The number for heating and stove oils doesn’t look like a lot but it does signal what I see as happening out there on the markets. Big Oil is dealing with refineries that are starting to come back on-line after fall maintenance and a surplus of inventory as we wade deeper into the winter heating season. If we have plenty of inventory on hand, and there is also refining of the product, it is understandable why any price increases would be a rarity at this time of year when prices would normally be climbing. We’re still not witnessing a pick-up of distillate demand at the same time as hearing about a pick-up in economic recovery. That part of the equation is not registering as a positive thing to commodity investors and I’m seeing a withdrawal in investment in that commodity. Any pick-up in refiner capacity tomorrow may signal further breaks for consumers to come. The least that we have here is the possibility that winter heating and stove oil prices may very well have already peaked for the time being. Of course, anything can happen overnight to change the situation as I see it.”


For more information, contact:

George Murphy
Group researcher
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update #2
Numbers still down for Thursday

Here's what the numbers look like after today's trading, one more day to go:

  • Heating and stove oils down by 1.1 cents a litre.
  • Diesel down by 1.2 cents, and...
  • Gasoline shows "down" by 3.7 cents a litre.

I would anticipate not a lot of big changes between now and the end of tomorrow's trading day. Gasoline could be down as much as four cents, if my numbers are right with heating, stove oils and diesel down close on 1.3 cents a litre. either way, look for that Tuesday posting!



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Numbers still show "down" for Thursday coming

Call it an early Christmas present on the way.

Here's what I have with twelve days of data in so far. We still have Monday and Tuesday to contend with so, the numbers may get a little better before then.

  • Heating and stove oils show "down" by a penny.
  • Diesel shows "down" by 1.1 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline shows "down" by 3.5 cents a litre.

I guess Santa doesn't work for Exxon after all!

What is significant about the numbers?

Heating and stove oils are down in a demand season and refiner capacity is still low, recorded at 81.1 per cent, just up a little from last week. The slight increase in refinery capacity just might be a fore bearer of lower prices for heating and stove oils as they pick up production and build inventories, especially so if capacity increases again...

I'll be posting here again on Tuesday night, a little later than usual so drop in on the blog then, or keep an ear to the radio news and such for word on what to expect Thursday coming.



Tuesday, December 08, 2009

No changes to prices this week

Numbers are starting a slide in the downwards direction, however, they aren't enough to warrant the use of the interrupter formula this week.

We should be looking at a decline in all prices next week however, even though right now numbers for distillates like heating, stove oils and diesels all show minuscule increases so far. The spot price for those fuels have nosed below the average set from the last price setting just last week.

Here's what I have so far:

  • Heating and stove oils show a bare 8/100ths of a cent up.
  • Diesel shows 'up' by the same 8/100ths, and...
  • Gasoline shows a decline of 1.9 cents per litre.

Again, I'm projecting declines in all prices for next week, unless inventory data out tomorrow shows some pretty heavy stuff ahead of Christmas or there's a dramatic reversal in the US dollar.

I'll be in touch with those changes.

Some observances:

  • Predictions by some market companies are calling for inventories to increase even though refinery capacity remains at near historic lows.
  • Oil prices are dropping as a result of some gains in the US greenback, making the US dollar more of an investment to be made over commodities.
  • Some talks of inflation to come is playing into the markets and that means higher interest rates. If rates go up, consumers will curtail on spending and that will eat into demand.
  • The inflation talk brings with it more worries of job losses and related problems with it. That in turn will play into the use of fuels and it's price by industry. More on the effects of inflation on oil prices next time around.

That's it for now!

Then again, that's enough, isn't it?



Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Might be worth noting that last paragraph on heating oil pricing, if you are a user...

Not much change in the markets this week
Gasoline up because of low refiner capacity

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, December 01, 2009- Low refiner capacity utilization has resulted in only a slight increase to come for gasoline prices when the Public Utilities Board moves to set prices this coming Thursday. That’s according to George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“It has been rather boring watching the markets this week, especially with no changes in some of the numbers that are readily apparent, with the exception of gasoline numbers,” said Murphy. “Numbers show only slight changes to heating and stove oils with those fuels down by 45/100ths of a cent. Diesel shows a very modest 2/10ths of a cent drop and gasoline shows a 1.1 cent a litre increase coming.”

“Low refiner capacity that sits at an almost historic low of 80 per cent is telling me that refiners are struggling to balance demand with supply. It appears to be a concerted move on the part of Big Oil to keep production down in the hope that demand will pick up, helping to support the price of the refined product. It appears that the move may be working. While demand is just half of a percentage point above last years figures, there was a small build in gasoline inventory last week leaving inventory there above that of last year by almost ten million barrels.”

“The distillate outlook, heating, stove and diesel prices, are showing mostly the same trend. Inventories there were impacted by just five hundred thousand barrels leaving inventories over last year up by 40 million barrels. That could spell better news for distillate fuel users if that trend keeps up. Higher than usual distillate inventories matched with lower demand this last week could carry through until springtime lessening the probability of higher heating oil prices and saving the consumer some grief. I’m hopeful that that trend will continue and help push prices down even more, or at least not increase prices to the extent first brought forward.”


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher