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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oil prices bounce back
Consumers to take a hit
Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, May 31, 2011- Consumers will see a solid move upwards in prices when they hit the pumps on Thursday morning. That's according to George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"Numbers are solidly up this week after oil's rally in the markets," Murphy said."Prices rebounded for oil and that pushed refined prices up further after they made a move upwards even before oil prices did. I don't get it, especially when crude oil supplies are the highest they've been in two years and demand is dropping off somewhat."

What the numbers say
"Heating and stove oils are up by 2.94 cents a litre. There's still no sign of a drop in the price of the important winter heating fuels when there should be. We're entering a non-demand season for heating oil and the numbers are rising. Diesel is also moving upwards, showing an increase on the way of 3.2 cents a litre."

"Gasoline prices will also take a move upwards with that fuel showing an added 3.8 cents a litre at the pumps come Thursday morning, the first increase in four weeks. It's easy to tell we're into the US summer driving season. Not only are the leaves coming out, the speculators are too.

Changes need to be made to trading laws
News out of the United States late last week included proof from our group that changes needed to be made to trading laws in Canada, besides south of the border. The United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has pressed charges against two speculators who made over $50 million US trading in the WTI crude oil futures market between January and April of 2008. Senators are looking for changes to trading laws
"What they were doing was a practice called "shorting", or trading a commodity for a sum of money and then selling very quickly for a profit before paying the original bill. It was like going to a car lot, bargaining a price for the car, then turning and selling it to someone else for a huge profit before you had even paid for the car. It's like these guys thought they owned the markets before they had to pay for the trades they made."

"Is it ironic that these two may have been just part of the reason why oil prices enjoyed a run-up to $147 US a barrel that spring, only to collapse, and almost caused a catastrophe in the world economy with high energy prices? Someone try and tell me that Canada shouldn't act to protect consumers from this."


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, May 30, 2011

Three's across the board

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but...

Here's the latest that I have with what's happening with prices this week.

One day to go here, but there's not likely to be much change between now and Thursday. Here's what I have so far:
  • Heating and stove oils show an added 2.79 cents per litre.
  • Diesel shows an added three cents, and...
  • Gasoline is up by 3.6 cents.
Almost the same as last week for gasoline in the opposite way, with the exception of diesel and heating/stove oil numbers.

What I have noticed here this past week is how much the Canadian dollar showed "steady" while refined commodity prices added almost ten cents a gallon US for the week.

Also, still no strategic retreat in heating and stove oil numbers, in spite of those fuels being in the "non-demand' season.

I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Third week in a row...
Consumers to catch a break

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, May 24, 2011 - For the third week in a row, consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will be getting a break at the pumps again this week, if the numbers are right. That's from George Murphy, group researcher and member of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"Volatility is not the word to describe what's been happening in the markets these last couple of weeks, and it shows in the numbers again," said Murphy. "Fourteen years at this, and I just can't describe what's going on in the markets. The evidence points towards a sell-off, but then there's a complete turn-around and they rebound again, but then they go nowhere. It's a very odd situation.

What's in the numbers
"Heating and stove oils show a slight increase of 7/100ths of a cent and diesel shows down by 3/10ths, close to what they showed last week. There's not much move in distillates which is a little mystifying in light of the non-demand season for heating oils. There should be some sign of a retreat. Its price may be supported as a result of diesel fuel being the world's most used fuel for transportation purposes, and heating/stove oils are also part of the same distillate group. My margin for error is three tenths of a cent, so there may be no change in price at all with those fuels.

"Gasoline is showing that consumers will see a more significant drop in prices with that fuel showing down by 3.4 cents a litre. While gasoline did not show a significant increase in inventory, it was the fact that inventories were up that ended up being reflected in prices again this week. It showed a case of 'enough is enough' by consumers out there, and they also let it be known with demand for gasoline being tepid at best. Of course, these numbers may also be subject to the volatility that was reflected in the markets the past couple of weeks!

At play in the markets
"I think there's still a lot of volatility in the markets out there. Things have not come even yet as there are simply too many factors at play. High prices remain a factor with consumers and that has also hindered economic recovery with disposable income being swallowed up in the United States. We're also seeing the impact of the ongoing debt crisis in Europe as some of the European Union countries namely Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, and now Italy, deal with their debt-load. Austerity programming is not going over well with the citizenry there. The problems with European debt-load is causing a drain on the Euro and that has resulted in a withdrawal in commodities like oil as speculators pour their dollars into the US dollar.

Where prices may be going
"While the US dollar is showing signs of increasing in value, the Canadian dollar has experienced a slight retreat with it's close connection to oil prices. We may be coming close to the end of price drops for now, that is, unless we see some continuation of the factors like the European debt crisis play through, or consumers remain vigilant about consumption and the high price of fuel. But by the look of things, the price drop honeymoon may be over for now."


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, May 23, 2011

Numbers down again

Hope everyone had a good weekend, in spite of the weather around here. I guess some of us who had to work this weekend helped the oil companies along by turning up the thermostats a little bit!

Here's what I have, with six days of data in:
  • Heating and stove oils are down by a scant 1/100ths of a cent.
  • Diesel is down by 4/10ths of a cent, and...
  • Gasoline is still showing down by 3.6 cents a litre.
I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers for this Thursday's price change.



Friday, May 20, 2011

Here's a little week-end tidbit for you. These guys are trying to take credit for the work of others, namely you. No surprise with that I guess. Some say it's politics.

I think they're getting tired myself...

Tired government trying to take credit for others ideas
Media release
Conception Bay South, May 20, 2011- Consumers shouldn't be surprised to find the province's finance minister try and take credit for the ideas of another party, that's a regular occurrance. What they should be offended at is the fact that government forgets the history of the removal of tax on heat idea going back to 1997 and a resulting petition drive against the government in 2001.
"If they had any gumption, they would have recognised that this idea of the removal of tax on heat was not their idea, not given them via the finance minister on Humber Road, or by a senior who asked the finance minister to remove the tax just weeks before the budget, but given to them by 55,000 of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador on March 28, 2001 via a petition in the House of Assembly back then to remove the tax on heat in a petition drive led by our consumer group."
He's forgetting his history, and he obviously wasn't a big listener of the Open Line radio shows".
"The finance minister should give credit where credit is due, and stop being so disingenuous and just get on with it", said Murphy.
It has also been stated in the House of assembly many time since 2003 from the province's New Democratic Party that the tax on heat should go.
It was also stated by the province's New Democrats that they should remove the tax and also retain the heating rebate. Just a reminder to everyone that, while it may be slow in the Confederation Building today, putting out an update on applicable tax rule changes does not give the government the right to say that removing the tax on heat and retention of the heat rebate was their idea.
It's a sign that this government is fast running out of original ideas and that it's getting tired of governance. Now is the time for vigilance, everyone!
George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices
(709)685-6186 cellular
Here's the link to the government release:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Look out!
NHC announces its hurricane outlook

It's not even into June month yet, but already we're hearing from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

You know what that means...

The NHC is making dire predictions on hurricanes this year, calling for upwards of six major hurricanes of a category three or greater nature to form in the Atlantic. Their predictions say that winds from these hurricanes have the potential to blow in with winds up to 111 miles per hour or better.

But keep in mind the storms also do something else.

Hurricane syndrome
They're a harbinger of things to come on the oil front. No doubt that as soon as the first storm gets named and it's on it's way to the eastern seaboard, investors and the speculators will again step in and attempt to speculate on the disaster scenario, thus driving up prices again. I like to call the whole oil play they pull as Hurricane Syndrome.

Just another reason for "made in Canada" pricing...

How much attention will the markets give to the hurricane news remains to be seen.

I will give you my prediction; that someone is going to try to make a dollar from it!

See the release here:

Numbers so far
In the meantime, it's only early into the next regulatory session, so, I'll echo a word of caution here. The numbers are again pointing downwards for next Thursday.

Here's what I have so far:
  • Heating and stove oils are down by 23/100ths
  • Diesel is down by a half cent, and...
  • Gasoline is down by 3.8 cents a litre.
Toronto and area will see prices down by another penny tonight as spot prices dipped again today to hit 72.8 cents a litre.

That's it for now!

Look for the next note on the numbers when you get back from the May two-four weekend.

Be safe!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Economy plays a role
Consumers to catch a break

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, May 17, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see a historic first this Thursday when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices. That's from George Murphy, group researcher and member for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"The downwards pressure continues to rage on oil prices as economic factors start to play in the markets.A simple case of consumers butting heads with price of commodities is mainly responsible as we see that tell-tale drop in demand and a gain in gasoline inventories last week", Murphy said.

"The oil speculators are having their troubles turning things around again as the bad economic news in the United States and news of debt troubles in the European Union both continue to play havoc with the markets.

"The numbers are holding for heating, stove oils and diesel with those fuels showing negligent change. Heating and stove oils show a drop of 3/100ths of a cent, while diesel shows an increase of two tenths of a cent. Those numbers are within my margin for error of three tenths of a cent a litre so, don't look for any change there."

"Gasoline is showing a drop now of 3.3 cents a ltre now, all ahead of the traditional start of the US summer driving season, as the markets traditionally ran up prices in the weeks ahead of the US Memorial day holiday weekend. The season may be a bit of a dud for investors, if the news like the last week gets worse. Today, it was news on house re-sale activity that didn't do investors any favours, and more news dealing with Greek debt from Europe that has investors troubled with the value of the Euro again.

"That helped investors turn their eyes to the US dollar as a hedge against inflation, rather than leave it in things like commodities and the Euro, and the sell-off began last week as a result. It may spell continued problems for oil prices, if European Union money troubles start to come into play again later this week.

"The markets also saw consumers bumping heads with prices as demand fell off. Gasoline inventories showed an unexpected gain along with rising crude oil inventories, a warning sign amidst refinery production at a low 81.7 per cent rate. It was a simple case of consumers getting tired of the high price and choosing to do something else besides drive, and their collective actions spelled trouble for oil and it's related, refined commodities. It was a hard lesson for Big Oil and investors to learn; that if people don't have the money, they won't drive. It was the law of diminishing returns coming full circle. It's as simple as that."


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

***Footnote to this release.
Spot prices have caved downwards by 12 cents a litre since May 10th, with consumer prices here still expecting another three and some-odd cents to come besides what I have in the release. Look for further breaks as a result next week. At least, that's the indication so far...

Monday, May 16, 2011

"Say it ain't so, Joe!"
Not another price drop!

You saw it here first from my sarcastic self, and yes, you read it right...

It's been a wild roller-coaster ride on the markets for the past two weeks now, and there's no sign of abatement. The blog had over 2300 hits from people who, like yourself, wanted answers concerning high prices.

We're all still looking and we're not expecting Minister Tony Clement to come up with any either...

"Keep it simple, Tony."

We need a national inventory reporting system and an investigation into present trading laws on the markets. It's just getting too easy to spend money that you don't have, to invest in the markets and turn into a profit before the bills are paid.

It's as simple as that...

In the meantime, while numbers in the immediate Toronto area will be dropping again tonight, the numbers in Newfoundland and Labrador will also take a drop back this Thursday morning, all in time for the long weekend.

Still one more day of data to get my hands on, so the numbers will change slightly from what I have here, but I don't think that there's going to be anything critical in the way of further changes.

Here's what I have so far this session;
  • Heating and stove oils show 14/100ths of a cent upwards.
  • Diesel shows an added 3/10ths of a cent upwards, and...
  • Gasoline shows a drop of 2.7 cents a litre.
I'll be back tomorrow night with a final run-down on the numbers for this Thursday.



Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Could be short-lived
Volatile week results in a break for consumers

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, May 10, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see something that they haven't seen in a long time when they wake to lower prices this coming Thursday morning. That news is from George Murphy, group researcher and member of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"Enjoy the drop in prices for now, because it may not last long," said Murphy. "Prices are already starting a meteoric climb since last week's drop in oil prices and oil's refined commodities are leading the charge. Consumers in the rest of Canada will be tagged tonight with further increases in prices and numbers are showing a trend toward increases to come to consumers here for next week. I have never seen a week of volatility like this since the Katrina and Rita hurricane events of 2005. There's a lot of instability out there."

Prices to drop
"I have heating and stove oils to drop by 6.86 cents per litre, which is a welcome break to users of that fuel. I'm hoping that pressure will ease off the important heating oils, but there is already a small upwards movement in prices above my average for the last week, which is not good news for next week.

"Diesel fuel shows a downwards move this week by 6.9 cents a litre but is also trending upwards for next week's price setting, showing a two cent a litre increase so far
"Gasoline now shows a drop of 2.8 cents a litre, now a full four cents off what the numbers showed after just one day of data last week. It's indicative of what has occurred in the markets for the past week. Numbers for gasoline are already showing that, if the trend holds, consumers could see an increase coming of up to six cents a litre if the trend holds for the next seven days. The markets could in fact turn the opposite way again before then, so I'm insecure about saying what is the definite here for next week, but there is a trend developing."

Putting the screws deeper
Big Oil is having a field day and speculators are in for the ride now. Oil has dropped by sixteen bucks US the past week trading down from $113.93 US on April 29th to drop back to $97.16 US on May 6th, only to recover to $103.88 for today, May 10th. In that time, refined commodities have climbed back up to April 29th levels again with oil off the 29th mark still by ten dollars US a barrel. I can't find a reasonable explanation as to why that is, but someone out there in the realms of the speculator is now making a heck of a lot of money. Best thing is, is that they don't have to explain it to anyone. They're no longer accountable. I'm willing to bet that refined commodity prices will not show a retreat while oil still advances to it's old mark set last week, then you'll know."

"Other region of the continent will be in for sticker shock, particularly our US neighbours. They'll take a hit upwards tonight by thirteen cents a gallon and diesel will increase by another nickel US. Other areas of Canada will also take a hit tonight with Toronto prices climbing another three cents a litre and other regulated markets possibly taking a more substantial hit later this week. This volatility in the markets is playing itself North America wide. I believe that the economy is soon going to pay the price if there is no retreat in fuel pricing. I believe that we've arrived at a breaking point."


For more information, contact;

George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Good news and bad news...

Put it this way.

Anytime prices come down, it's a good thing, so I guess it's all good so far this week, but it was a much different story than last Thursday when gas numbers showed close on seven cents a litre down.

After the rally in oil prices since Friday, I'm surprised that numbers are still down. I haven't seen volatility in the numbers like this in a long time, but it does show how unstable the markets are. Here's what I have so far this session with Monday trading numbers in the mix:
  • Heating and stove oils show down by 7.13 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is also down by 7.3 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline is down by 3.8 cents a litre.
I'll be back tomorrow night with the final breakdown on what to expect. All numbers will still be down, however...



Saturday, May 07, 2011

Price drops on the way

Hi to all...

Just watching the markets for the week so far and I am also getting a lot of email of inquiry on where prices may be going this week so far, so I figured I would let you know too.

Go light on whatever it is you're buying, let's put it that way...

Here's what I have so far, five days out of seven, reporting. Monday and Tuesday to come before I have a final number on what to expect this Thursday however...

  • Heating and stove oils are down by 7.4 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is down by 7.6 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline shows down by 4.6 cents a litre.

I'll be in touch later this week with final numbers for everyone, but after this week's market activity, this is where we stand so far.


George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Go light for the next few days!

As you are all probably aware now, there is a huge sell-off in the markets today on some bad economic news and a rising US dollar against other currencies. It seems that yesterday's inventory data also was enough to give investors a good scare, so it's to the bottom of the tank for oil prices and their related, refined commodities.

As of 4:20 PM Newfoundland time today, oil prices have plummeted $9.50 US, I think the largest single day sell-off of oil in recent memory, if not just a record over all!

Gasoline is also showing down by 24 cents a US gallon, or close on 6.5 a litre plus taxes here. Look for a major drop in prices next week, if this news today keeps up for the rest of the week. You may want to go VERY LIGHT on any fuel purchases before then.

Regards for now!

George Murphy

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Now that the election is out of the way...

Hi to all...

First off, thanks for getting out and voting at this weeks federal election. The New Democrats now have official opposition status now, which entitles them to lead the tone of questions and debate in the House of Commons. It also means that our issue of the tax on heat will be just one matter on the front burner of the party's agenda to Canadians, so hopefully, we'll see some action on this one soon as the New Democrats hold the Conservatives feet to the fire on the issue.

Short, sweet and simple again this week.

Next week should see a full edition of my synopsis for the week leading up to any price changes as we're all getting back to normal here after the federal election.
Interesting note from the election, however...

The promise of economic troubles from an NDP government as related to us by the Harper crowd, really didn't transform itself into a dramatic change in the money markets. In fact, the Canadian dollar actually gained strength against its US counterpart during this time. If an NDP government and their economic policies were such a threat to Canada's economy, you'd figure that the uncertainty would have made the dollar drop against the US greenback, wouldn't you?

It didn't happen...

Here's what I have for this weeks price changes:
  • Stove and heating oils show an added 86/100ths of a cent upwards.
  • Diesel numbers show an added 4/10ths of a cent upwards, but based on four days of data.
  • Gasoline shows an added 1.1 cents a litre upwards.
That's it for this week!
George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices