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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Markets still in flux?

Refined commodities increase in price

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, January 31, 2012- While oil prices remain relatively steady, consumers will still see a slight increase at the pumps. That news comes from George Murphy, group researcher for the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“Investors have found a new playground for now. They’re not making money off the refined product because no one wants to completely shut out the economic recovery, but they’re forgetting that they’re picking consumers’ pockets by doing what they’re doing.” Murphy said. “The market news is not reflective of where reality to consumers should sit. Oil prices are down a buck a barrel this past week.”

The numbers

“Numbers show that consumers will see a slight increase to distillate fuels. Heating and stove oils show an added 62/100ths of a cent, while diesel shows an added half penny upwards. Gasoline shows an added two cents a litre upwards, probably motivated by a slight drop in inventories last week.”

European union problems make a play

Waiting in the wings is the financial situation in the European union that still will make a play should European leaders fail to reach an arrangement on financing Greek debt, or should Greece default. Other EU countries have since faced a downgrade in their credit ratings as well, with Belgium, Portugal, Italy being some of the countries that face the placement of heavy austerity measures that could curtail consumer spending. The financial situation may also be to blame for the latest numbers on unemployment in the EU member nations. Unemployment hit a new high of 10.9 percentage points today.

Iran set to cut exports

Iran is set to cut exports to the European Union, all in spite of the European Union placing an embargo on imports from the Middle East country, but it’s not that Iran is too worried about exports. Reports indicate that India will still import Iranian crude oil, and that China and North Korea will again probably pick up the load left by the Euro nation countries. Hardly to be effective, the start of an embargo will hardly damage prices. Iran exports almost 450,000 barrels of crude per day to the European Union, probably not enough to play into prices. It’s the promise of any disruption of exports through the Strait of Hormuz and any disruption to exports from other oil producing countries in the Gulf that will play heavier into prices.

OPEC numbers are out

Just how much oil is out there?

Take these numbers into consideration. OPEC January production reached a three year high of almost 30.9 million barrels per day with Libyan production now at 925,000 barrels per day, just short of the pre-war export level of 1.5 million barrels. Saudi Arabian production ranged 9.65 million barrels per day in the same month. Nigerian production was set at 2.1 million barrels, in spite of some disruption with ongoing tensions in the African country. Production disruptions have caused a slight drop of close on 80,000 barrels a day there.

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oil mostly steady

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, January 24, 2012- Consumers will only see some slight adjustment to prices when the Public Utilities Board adjusts prices this coming Thursday. That news comes from George Murphy of the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices and MHA for St. John’s East.

“Numbers show only slight movement in keeping with the movement of oil prices, but you have to ask why prices haven’t moved lower, considering where oil prices are.” Murphy said. “Heating and stove oil prices are projected to drop by 1.47 cents a litre while diesel is expected to dip just 1.6 cents a litre. Gasoline prices are expected to show an increase of a penny on a litre. Numbers don’t reflect any market volatility however.”

Crude steady. But why

“The movement of crude oil, WTI in particular, has dropped a little over a dollar US on a barrel, not a lot in the context of things considering the world geo-political situation. I would have expected that oil prices would be climbing much higher, especially with the situation in the Strait of Hormuz and the ongoing conflict with Iran over its nuclear program. There’s a message in there. Investors and speculators are nervous about something else that I think translates into the world financial situation, particularly in the European union. I think we’re on the edge, especially if the Union can’t reach an agreement with Greece over debt repayment.”

“If you consider that, just today, the European Union has tightened the embargo of imports from Iran, there has been an escalation in tensions, but oil prices have mostly remained steady. They should be going the opposite direction, if things were normal economically, and there was a huge dependence on Iranian crude, but there’s not.

“Secondly: last week saw a considerable drop in crude oil inventories in the United States, but still no substantial movement. If the markets can’t pay attention to those details, then there’s something greater at work here, and no one is talking about it. Between affordability of refined product and tightening credit markets in the European Union, I think something is going to break shortly. But, I think it’s going to have to be substantial either way to bring some relief to consumers. We’re at another breaking point.”

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hi to all…

Short and sweet again this week. No really big changes to pricing.

Here’s what I have for this Thursday, January 19th:

· Heating/stove oils down by 88/100ths of a cent.

· Diesel down by 1.8 cents a litre, and…

· Gasoline is showing down by 6/10ths of a cent a litre.

That’s it for this week!

Regards,

George Murphy

Group researcher/member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Friday, January 13, 2012

Marine Atlantic rate increases heavy-handed and unnecessary

Media release

Conception Bay South, NL, January 13, 2012 – marine Atlantic announced increases to consumers and businesses yesterday to take effect this February, and that doesn’t hold well with George Murphy, group researcher with the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices.

“We have always asked for the federal government to insulate Newfoundland and Labrador consumers and businesses from facing artificial increases in inflation rates caused by any rate increase from this important service, but they have yet to step up to the plate to cover Marine Atlantic’s budget to prevent this from happening to consumers. All they had to do was make a small addition to the Marine Atlantic budget to prevent anything being handed down to us, but they missed an opportunity to maintain a level playing field for consumers.” Murphy said.

“My understanding is that inflation over this past year has run well under the four percentage points that Marine Atlantic has increases prices to travelers and business alike. They adjusted rates excessively as the inflation rate sits at 2.9 percentage points presently with inflation rates at 1.9 percentage points for all of 2010. Marine Atlantic needs to explain the four percentage points they have come up with, and the federal government needs to explain why it doesn’t top up the budget of Marine Atlantic rather than treating the ferry service across the Gulf like it is a toll highway. Now, the federal government is compounding inflationary pressures to Newfoundland and Labrador consumers by treating the service as a ‘stand-alone’ service when it simply cannot be. This is our marine highway and it’s time to make the proper strategic investment in it”.

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For more information, contact;

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Seven days in...
Numbers up across the board

All the data is in for this week, and the news isn't good this time around.

Here's what I have:
  • Heating/stove oils show an added 4.04 cents/Lt.
  • Diesel shows an added 4.3 cents/Lt, and...
  • Gasoline shows an increase of 2.2 cents/Lt.

Note that the distillate fuels have a two cent disparity with gasoline? That's been happening for a while now. Digging into that just to see if there's anything to it or not.


Market highlights

  • Iran continues sabre rattling in the Strait of Hormuz as the world continues to ponder deeper sanctions against that middle eastern country's continuing pursuit of its own nuclear program. The possibility of another conflict in the middle east grows daily and that continues to support oil prices.
  • Talks of economic recovery are renewed as the Bank of France is reporting that their Business Sentiment Indicator shows a positive outlook amongst manufacturers there. Manufacturing also increased in France during November month adding an important 1.1% gain in the country's industrial output.
  • Is there an improvement in the US economy? Some are thinking that the US economy is on the way back after gaining an additional 107,000 jobs in November. Pretty important factor in supporting oil prices.
  • Strikes in Nigeria have shut in some oil production but oil has not increased dramatically as a result. In fact, it may be other outside worries like the European Union financial situation that may be preventing run-away pricing for oil. We'll keep an eye to this one.

That's it for this week!


Regards,


George

Monday, January 09, 2012

Refined commodities start upwards

Call this "early notice"...

Looks like prices will be up this coming Thursday, January 12/12, as refined commodity prices continue to follow the last week rise in oil prices.

Here's what I have with just six days data. I will be back tomorrow night with the final numbers on what to expect, but, let's just say that this week won't be pretty:
  • Heating/stove oils show an added 3.91/Lt so far.
  • Diesel prices are up by 4.4/Lt, and...
  • Gasoline shows "up" by 2.2 cents a litre.

I guess from this my buddy in his tanker is going to be busy for the next couple of days!


Regards,


George

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Hi to all…

Short and sweet again this week as the holiday season in the markets comes to an end, although next week should be more interesting.

Here’s what I have for this week:

  • · Heating, stove oils and diesel fuels all show an added 1.0 cents a litre upwards, and…
  • · Gasoline shows just an added two tenths of a cent upwards…

However…

Watching closely the situation in the Red sea where the state of Iran is causing some concerns in the markets with its sabre-rattling in the Straits of Hormuz. Oil prices increased $4.13 a US gallon on concerns that Iran will halt all shipments of crude oil through the important export route that sends out close on 17 million barrels of crude oil to the world markets. That concern also translated in refined prices increasing today to show a potential increase coming to consumers for next week, if there is no improvement in the geo-political situation there, or other mitigating factors that may enter to play their part in the markets.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back again next week with something more substantial to everyone than what the holidays have allowed for…

Regards for now,

George Murphy

Group researcher/Member

Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices

Twitter: @GeorgeMurphyNDP