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Gasoline RBOB Dec '17 (RBZ17)

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Gasoline RBOB Futures Market News and Commentary

Crude Oil Closes at a 3-Week High on Continued US/Iran Tensions and Dollar Weakness

Aug WTI crude oil (CLN19) on Friday closed up +0.36 (+0.63%), and Aug Brent crude oil (CBQ19) closed up +0.75 (+1.16%). Aug RBOB gasoline (RBN19) closed up +0.0539 (+3.06%). The energy complex Friday rallied for a second day and posted new 3-week highs on continued US/Iran tensions and a weak dollar. The dollar index slid to a 3-month low Friday on the outlook for easier Fed policy after Fed Vice Chair Clarida said that "the case for providing more accommodation has increased." US/Iran tensions remain high since the U.S. could still launch a retaliatory strike against Iran for its downing of a U.S. drone even though President Trump called off a planned strike on Thursday for being disproportionate. Gasoline prices received a boost Friday on supply concerns after a fire and explosion shuttered gasoline output at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery, the largest on the U.S. East Coast with processing capacity of 350,000 bpd of crude oil. Crude prices still had carry-over support from Wednesday's bullish EIA report, which showed a -3.11 million bbl decline in U.S. crude oil inventories, more than expectations of -1.75 million bbl. The EIA report also showed that gasoline stockpiles unexpectedly fell -1.69 million bbl versus expectations for a +1.0 million bbl increase. Robust U.S. gasoline demand is also supportive for prices after the EIA reported that U.S. gasoline demand rose +0.5% w/w for the week of June 14 to a record 9.928 million bpd. Wednesday's EIA data showed that U.S. crude oil inventories as of June 14 were a hefty +8.3% above the 5-year average, gasoline inventories were +1.3% above the 5-year average, and distillate inventories were -5.3% below the 5-year average. Big Picture Crude Oil Market Factors: Bullish factors include (1) the agreement by OPEC+ to cut crude oil production by 1.2 million bpd for the first six months of 2019 (800,000 bpd for OPEC members), which should soak up much of the expected 2019 global oil surplus, (2) the sharp -7% drop in OPEC crude production so far in 2019 to a 4-1/2 year low of 30.260 million bpd in April and May, (3) heightened Iran tensions after the recent attacks on oil tankers and the downing of a U.S. drone near the Strait of Hormuz that could eventually draw at least a limited U.S. military response, (4) the sharp drop in Iranian oil production from U.S. sanctions and in Venezuela oil production from U.S. sanctions and the economic crisis, (5) robust U.S. gasoline demand after the EIA reported that U.S. gasoline demand rose +0.5% w/w for the week of June 14 to a record 9.928 million bpd, and (6) the decline in active U.S. oil rigs to a 1-1/2 year low of 788 rigs in the week ended June 14. Bearish factors include (1) global trade tensions that may drag global growth and energy demand lower, (2) the recent surge in U.S. oil production to a record high of 12.4 million bpd, and (3) aple current supplies with U.S. crude oil inventories +8.4% above the 5-year average as of Jun 7 at a 1-3/4 year high of 485.47 million bbl.
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