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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Good evening from Stephenville!

Hi to all...

On a bit of a working vacation on this side of the island with still a little time to account for the numbers for everyone.

With all seven days of data now in, here's what you can expect for a change in prices for this Thursday morning:

  • Heating and stove oils show a drop of 3.97 cents a litre.

  • Diesel shows a drop of 4.3 cents a litre, and...

  • Gasoline shows a drop of 3.7 cents a litre.

Sorry about the lack of news in this posting for everyone, but that's tha way it goes for at least this price change!

I'll be back at everyone next week with more news!



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Refined commodities trading down
Another break for consumers for this Thursday on the way

With turmoil in the markets playing a big factor in oil prices, it was but a matter of time before refined commodity prices started to take a precipitous trek downwards. And, so goes the word to consumers this week in Newfoundland and Labrador.

At least, so far...

Here's what I have with five days of data out of seven so far:
  • Heating and stove oils are down by 3.98 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is down by 4.2 cents, and...
  • Gasoline is pointing down by 3.9 cents a litre.
Could be a better than expected Thursday coming for us!

I'll try and keep everyone updated, but look for drops for Thursday as a certainty right now.



Friday, June 24, 2011

The battle shaping up...

Interesting, to say the least!

In an almost unprecedented move, Asian countries have now joined in what appears to be a global move to bring energy prices downwards to spur economic activity and recovery.

Seems to be a recognition out there from governments that OPEC's long-standing goal of keeping oil prices up is going to be a hard job.

The United States and some European countries rallied together on Thursday to release some of their crude oil reserves to the world markets, not long after OPEC met, to meet a shortfall of global crude stocks and in an effort to bring down the price of oil to bolster economic recovery. OPEC failed to increase production the other day that would have dropped crude oil prices, but the meeting to discuss production increases amongst member countries failed, spurring the move by western countries.

Brent crude shows a drop so far today by close on $1.40 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate is down slightly by close on sixty cents. Not a big lot, but it's starting to show on refined commodity prices.

I'll be in touch, but it's off to the west coast of the province Monday.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oil takes a pounding

Look for more updates on this one again as oil prices take a pounding in the markets today.

Oil trading lower as a result of bad economic news out of the US with a lower than expected drop in US inventories, lower economic growth forecast and a higher than expected unemployment report all playing heavily in the markets.

WTI trading down, as of 12:00Noon Newfoundland time, by $4.64 US a barrel and Brent trading down by more than six bucks US to $107.46 and below what the Newfoundland and Labrador government's budget forecast of $108 US.

Gasoline is trading down by 14 cents US a gallon and heating oils also are trading down by 16 cents a US gallon as well.

Might be another good week on the consumer end, especially if the "Canuck Buck" stays up!

I'll be in touch on this one as well as it unfolds, so you might want to hold off buying any fuels for a bit.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Consumers will catch a break
European Union sovereign debt a factor
Media release
Conception Bay South, NL, June 21, 2011- Consumers of petroleum products will catch a break as European Union member countries, particularly Greece, deal with debt problems. That news comes from the group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices, George Murphy.
Reality kicks in for investors
"It's back to reality for investors and speculators as ongoing concerns of any economic recovery married with European Union sovereign debt all reign over the markets. For some investors, the US dollar was the only safe haven when they pulled their finances out of oil in fear of a world slowdown caused by Greek, Italian and Portuguese debt-loads. Of real concern is austerity programs that could wreak havoc with the Greece debt and economic recovery efforts", Murphy said.
"Numbers show the start of what I feel is a 'more to come' scenario. If monetary problems persist and Greece doesn't meet her debt payment schedule, then we may see further drops in prices as investors pull out of oil. Right now, investors are caught in a tenuous catch-22 situation where they have no choice but pull money out of oil with a possible economic collapse in Europe. But, if they pour their money into the US dollar as a safe haven, they could cause a slowdown in US exports with an increase in the US dollar value, making their manufacturing sector face a slowdown."
"Markets are very 'bear' right now"...
"My numbers show a drop to all fuels is on the way for Thursday morning. I have heating and stove oils down by 3.56 cents a litre while, diesel shows a downwards movement by 3.7 cents a litre, taking a little bit of relief in the distillate group of fuels."
"Gasoline shows a drop of 2.8 cents, but that number, as well as the distillates, do not account for any market volatility that is out there, and it has been volatile!"
"I'm hoping the news in the numbers will carry through for next week. Numbers are already showing a downwards trend, but its continuation will depend mainly on what happens with the European Union's handling of the money crisis amongst member countries like Greece. If she defaults on the first debt payments, it could be 'force majeure' in the marketplace, and we could see investors run. Numbers are already showing signs of another decrease on the way for next week if Greece continues to play in the markets again. Numbers are already showing an even two cents down for all fuels for next week, but it's still a little early to call it. We'll wait and see what happens."
For more information, contact:
George Murphy
Group researcher/Member
Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Monday, June 20, 2011

Six out of seven days...

A break in consumer prices is coming for residents of Newfoundland and Labrador this Thursday. At least that's what the numbers continue to show.

Here's what I have for six days:
  • Heating and stove oils now show a drop of 3.15 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is now down by 3.3 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline is also down by 3.4 cents a litre.
One day left to go before we say we have the final number. I'll be back tomorrow night with that.

Continuing worries over European Union debt-load, particularly from member country Greece, still is playing heavily in the markets. There's a lot of worry amongst investors out there and they're stirring away from the bear markets for now.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Numbers down

Happy Father's Day!

I promised everyone that I would post a few times before the next price setting to keep everyone up to date on this latest drop in oil prices.

So far, there hasn't been a large of a change as what one would expect. Given that I think that refined prices should have taken a pounding along with oil prices, I would have expected to see something in the order of a seven cent a litre drop in refined commodity prices, based on "Big Oil's theory of one cent per every dollar a barrel in oil prices.

It doesn't show itself in the numbers.

Here's what I do have:
  • Heating and stove oils are down by 2.89 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is down by 2.7 cents a litre, and ...
  • Gasoline shows downwards by an even two cents.

I don't know why refined commodity prices didn't react in the same manner, but they did stay relatively stable all during this little "crisis" with oil so far. What it appears to be is that refined commodity prices are probably just showing an adjustment from the drop in acquired costs, and not reflective of the reality that there's some economic problems out there.

I think oil is waiting for more substantive news on a downturn in the North American economy more-so than what the markets are telling us about the European Union. That's almost off the mark from just a year and a half ago when oil retreated everywhere when even the North American economy showed signs of tanking along with the European Union's ongoing debt concerns with member countries.

In other words, we might have to wait a little bit longer to see something more substantive when it comes to that break in fuel prices we've all been waiting for.

Stay tuned. That news could be just around the corner...



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oil markets in trouble

Today's sell-off in oil won't do this weeks price change any good, but watch out next week, if the trend continues.

Seems that today, the called slow-down of the US economy and the European Union debt crisis is starting to kick in, as predicted some time ago that it would, and that has sent the oil markets reeling with oil down by $4 US and gasoline down by 16 cents a US Gallon.

Now, if the Canadian dollar doesn't get too dragged down with oil prices, we could see a substantial drop in prices for next week being set up.

I'll be in touch with everyone more often than not with this "crisis" piling in on "Big Oil".


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Up and down week for oil
Distillate prices still work upwards
Media release

Conception Bay south, NL, June 14,2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will see some slight changes to fuel prices this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this Thursday morning. That's from George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

" There's not much change at all on the gasoline front. The number rings in close to zero, but what is readily apparent is the price of distillate fuels like heating, stove oils and diesel that are showing increases to prices again. I think it's alarming to see, especially in a season when traditionally, we see heating oil prices drop," Murphy said.

"It's disturbing to see consumers of heating and stove oils take a pounding in the wallet with prices still elevated close to the dollar a litre mark."

Here are the projected increases for Thursday:

  • Heating and stove oils are up again by 1.69 cents a litre.
  • Diesel is showing up again as well by 1.8 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline shows an added 3/10ths of a cent.
Some market notes
  • The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a drop in crude oil inventories. The oil industry organisation represents oil producers and retailer/refiners in the United States also reported a gain in US inventories of gasoline, helping to keep prices steady this week.
  • Gasoline demand also dropped in the US to average 9.16 million barrels of consumption per day, down 2.8% from the same period last year, the single biggest drop in demand recorded in four months.
  • Diesel consumption in China is up. Way up, indicating a busy economy, in spite of inflation which is fast becoming a factor in prices of commodity goods coming from the Asian country. The Chinese government is responding by ordering banks to tighten the money supply, trying to slow the flow of cash in the markets there. Another way they have done that is by raising interest rates.
  • Back again, south of the border where oil rebounded today on "less than expected" bad news on the retail front. News there indicated a modest drop in retail sales of just .2%, less than what economists expected. It was a market indicator that consumers are adjusting to higher energy prices and are spending in other areas as they adjust habits.

For more information, contact;

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

European Union debt cuts oil price

More news out of the European Union today has caused a tumultuous drop in oil prices. By now, speculators should be asking themselves why they should trust even their own trading!

Standard and Poor's had their say in Greece's debt problems today, and they also scored points with consumers as they helped to drop oil prices today by close on $2.50 US a barrel.

They cut Greece's credit rating to 'CCC', just above junk status, and also said the Mediterranean country has a high likelihood of skimping out on debt payments in the future. That's not good news to the European union, especially as we all struggle towards some sort of an economic recovery.

Here's what I have so far for this pricing session, with one more day to go before the price change data is complete. Don't expect much change to gas prices with numbers like these!:
  • Heating and stove oils still show increases again this week by 1.74 cents a litre.
  • Diesel shows an added 1.8 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline shows an added 3/10ths of a cent.
I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers for everyone.



Thursday, June 09, 2011

Closing a comm center could be a tragedy in waiting

Good morning to everyone.

I know this one is not my "forte" as such, but I wanted to send my thoughts on the closure of the Coast Guard's marine communications center here in St. John's as a result of federal government cuts to the budget.

This is a short note on why the center should remain open, not that a lot of you haven't got notes on that already, but I think this one might be of importance too
Here's my thoughts

We are entering a period of what is called the "solar maximum". During a solar maximum the sun is subject to all sorts of funny things like an increase in "sun spots" that causes a higher level of radiation in earth's atmosphere as well as the increased risk of solar flaring.

Here's a major one from just the other day:

Solar flaring can mean big trouble to anything that uses electricity or is subject to the use of atmospherics, like satellites, and of course we all know about the big power outages on the eastern seaboard, and in Quebec, that was caused by a massive solar flare in 1986. Or, at least, i think it was in that year.


1) Radio signals have a tendency to get degraded during solar flare activity.
If a radio signal becomes degraded, it does not get out to those who need to hear it. Range of a signal is shortened at a time when it may very well need to be heard the most. I've been playing with everything from CB radios to shortwave listening over the past 30 years, and I've experienced degradation of radio signals enough to have my own degraded that I've lost the signal from stations before.

A radio that is having trouble with degradation because of solar flaring activity also has to contend with another problem
2) There is proof already that solar flaring also disrupts GPS equipment.Several NOTAM's and notices about the degradation of GPS signals are already out there in the radio world the last few months. If a GPS is off because the satellite system is knocked out by solar flaring, accidents can happen and that also can happen for any airline that uses GPS or a fly by wire flight system.
That means trouble, or the greater potential for trouble
If signals are degraded, right off the bat, we have a signal that needs to be heard by someone another 1500 miles from where a person or persons may be in need of help. How does one hear the call if it does happen? It should be a worry and a concern as the Federal government gets stupid in the closure of this important radio center.

Don't let them get away with it!

Just thought I'd spill my two cents worth.


George Murphy

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Enter the governing council!

Good news out of Libya this evening may prove to be good news for consumers down the road.

Tesoro Energy out of the United States have signed with the governing council in eastern Libya for the first shipment of crude oil to leave Libyan waters since the start of unrest there a few months ago.

Libya is a chief exporter of crude oil from North Africa, exporting almost 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, that is, before the "revolution" started there.

The deal is for an initial purchase of 1.2 million barrels.

Any added crude oil to the markets at this point should be just enough to mitigate any increases for a little bit.

We'll see what happens.

Story here.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Up and down in the markets
Gas prices down, but distillate fuels up

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, June 07, 2011- Consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador will find evidence of the 'up and down' to the markets this week when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this Thursday morning. That's from George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

"Numbers are reflective of what happened with inventories late last week when data showed a drop in distillate fuels and a gain for inventories of gasoline," Murphy said."It's been all over the map since, with no real sign of stability. Oddly enough, inventories of crude oil increased by 2.9 million barrels even though there was an increase in refinery production, reaching a full 86 per cent, the highest level in weeks."

The numbers
"Heating and stove oils show upwards movement by 1.03 cents a litre. Diesel should increase by 1.5 cents. That is probably in line with inventory reports that showed a drop in distillate inventories by close on a million barrels. Someone is burning a lot of distillate fuel out there, most likely diesel fuel."

"Gasoline is showing the opposite: down by 2.6 cents a litre. Gasoline inventories were up last week by 2.6 million barrels for the week, probably the reason behind the drop in prices.

Oil prices may drop
There are also strong signs that OPEC member countries are getting ready to ramp up production, citing the need to keep the world economy moving in the face of slow, or even falling economic recovery. The group of producers led by Saudi Arabia, are presently meeting in Vienna.The talk is about adding 1.5 million barrels of crude oil per day to present production quotas. If that happens, it could be a plus to helping prices drop. The Saudis are concerned that high oil prices will further damage world economic recovery and they're pushing fellow OPEC members to help drop the price of oil to a more 'manageable' seventy to eighty dollars US a barrel from it's present level of around the hundred US level it presently sits at.

But there is another cause for concern.

"If the group does raise quotas, then that leaves spare refinery capacity at a minimum while Libyan production is off-line with ongoing political turmoil. Libyan production matches that of the proposed OPEC production increase: 1.5 million barrels per day. The difference here is in the interpretation of the news here. Investing agencies are concerned with losing capacity when consumers are saying that capacity is there. Just not online at this moment. I believe we're close to a retreat in prices, especially if demand for gasoline and distillate fuels stagnates."

"We'll wait and see."


For more information, contact;

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

*Just a footnote to this story really. demand for gasoline products this past week was recorded at 1.3% lower than the same recording period for last year. That's pretty important to see at this time, and another sign of probably what's coming.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Numbers all over the place

Here's what I have with just tomorrow's trading to figure in on the numbers:
  • Heating and stove oils show an increase of 92/100ths of a cent.
  • Diesel shows an added 1.3 cents a litre, and...
  • Gasoline shows a drop of 2.4 cents a litre.
Just like I said a little bit ago; that I thought the numbers were going to be bouncing all over the place!

Still a little volatility out there it seems!

I'll be back tomorrow night with the final numbers on what to expect for Thursday, but for now, it looks like gas will be down.

Ontario readers: Your prices will be down tonight (June 6th) by 1.6 cents a litre.

That's it for now!