The Widow Maker Is Making OUT
They of course call it the widow maker or the unimaginative, perhaps the heating oil/gasoline spread. The spread has been soaring as the heating oil market is reflecting all of the news that can impact supply by the preponderance of news that has driven oil. The news is getting more bullish for heating oil, diesel and fuel oil and more bearish for oil. Whether you are talking about the agreement in principle by the European Union to impose an oil embargo on Iran or the closure of Petro Plus refineries in Europe the spread just continues to soar. Of course the other side of that coin is the fact that gasoline demand is weak. As we told you the EU will move forward on an oil embargo and the US made it harder for Iran to sell oil by new banking sanctions. This will tighten Distillate supply in Europe while gasoline demand is tanking!
The MasterCard Spending Pulse showed just how weak by reporting that Gasoline demand in the United States plunged 1.297 million bpd or 13.7% to 8.160 million bpd during the week-ended Dec. 30, according to data released today by SpendingPulse, which is published by MasterCard Advisors, the professional arm of MasterCard Worldwide. SpendingPulse reported 57.122 million bbl of gasoline was sold at retail outlets during the week reviewed, tumbling 9.079 million bbl versus the prior week. While the market was focused on the Iranian drama and word that the EU as expected would put on sanctions the good news was that French refiners decide not to call for a national strike. Also Heating oil is getting a boost from the return of winter. That Northeastern cold blast is driving prices in many commodities. Even OJ is soaring as fears that a freeze in Florida may do damage to the Orange trees.
Gold looks like it has hit bottom. Now some say that gold rallied in response to the EU sanctions on Iran but it seems strange that oil fell back and gold did not. It shows you that there is something more to the gold rally. Gold of course did perform better in terms of the euro as safe haven European buying seemed to gravitate towards the yen. Silver on the other hand was weaker. Of Course despite the recent weakness in silver and it ignominious correction the average annual price of $35.12 per ounce last year, set a new price record and was a 74% gain over the 2010 average annual price of $20.19 per ounce. We are seeing some long gold/short silvers as the small investors are not ready to believe in the precious metals rally just yet.
Natural Gas could not stay below $300 for very long. A blast of winter and an upcoming injection report more than likely cause some short covering. That is despite a warm up in the Midwest! Winter? What winter? We should see a 76 bcf withdrawal and will leave supply at a record high for this time of year.
Phil Flynn is senior energy analyst for PFGBest Research and a Fox Business Network contributor. He can be reached at (800) 935-6487 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.