Yellen vs. refineries

July 16, 2015 08:36 AM
Daily Energy Markets Analysis

Crude oil prices failed to muster a rally even after a big drop in U.S. crude supply and record refinery runs. One reason for that was Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who seemed very upbeat and very confident that the Fed will raise rates this year. Oil can't fight the Fed and it can't fight the perception that the market is massively oversupplied, a situation that they say can only get worse when Iranian oil comes back on line and the fact that the summer driving season is past its peak.

Sill, you have to be impressed with the U.S. refiners! The Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged a record 16.8 million barrels per day, 229,000 barrels per day more than the previous week's average. Refineries operated at an explosive 95.3% of their operable capacity last week. That record activity led to a 4.3 million barrel supply drop as gasoline production soared. Those runs helped meet strong demand as the EIA reported that motor gasoline product supply averaged 9.6 million barrels per day, up by 6.5% from the same period last year. Distillate fuel product supply averaged 3.7 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, down by 2.3% from the same period last year. Jet fuel product supply is down 4.7% compared to the same four-week period last year.

Yet, who cares about demand when Janet Yellen is talking about raising rates and the folks in Greece are protesting in the streets for the deal Alexis Tsipras says he signed under duress from his creditors. The strong dollar and weak euro help overcome the bullish numbers from the EIA.

We are also fighting the calendar. Gas prices are plunging in part because U.S. refiners are producing 9.7 million barrels per day. We feel oil is in a range and outside forces are keeping prices down. We would use weakness to put on bullish option strategies.

About the Author

Phil Flynn is a senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. Phil is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets.