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Tue, Mar 26th, 2019
[[ timeframe ]] futures price quotes as of Tue, Mar 26th, 2019.
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Futures Market News and Commentary

Natural Gas Prices Close Lower on Warmer Weather Forecasts

May Nymex natural gas (NGK19) on Tuesday fell back towards Monday's 1-month low and closed the day down -0.023 (-0.83%). May nat-gas fell on Tuesday due to due to warming U.S. weather and an increase in U.S. nat gas production over the weekend to a new 3-month high of 85.9 bcfd, although production then dropped back to 85.1 billion bcfd by Tuesday. Nat-gas prices on Tuesday were undercut after Radian Solutions forecasted a warming pattern in the Central and Eastern U.S. during April 5-9, although near-term, NOAA is forecasting cooler-than-average temperatures in central U.S. during March 31 to April 4. U.S. nat-gas prices on Tuesday saw continued downward pressure from European gas prices, which traded just slightly above Monday's 2-1/2 year low on ample LNG imports. Nat-gas prices have underlying support from continued tight supplies, which stood at a 4-3/4 year low of 1.143 tcf as of March 15, down -21.0% y/y and -32.7% below the 5-year average. The consensus is for this Thursday's weekly EIA report to show a -44 bcf drop in U.S. nat-gas inventories, a slightly larger drop than the 5-year average for the week of -41 bcf.
Crude Oil Rallies on Russian Compliance and Venezuelan Supply Concerns

May WTI crude oil (CLK19) on Tuesday rallied up toward last week's 4-1/2 month high and closed sharply higher by +1.12 (+1.90%), while May Brent crude oil (CBK19) closed up +0.76 (+1.13%). May RBOB gasoline (RBK19) on Tuesday rallied to a new 4-3/4 month high and closed with a strong gain of +0.0167 (+0.88%). Bullish factors on Tuesday included (1) higher stock prices, (2) concern about Venezuelan oil supplies with the second day of a major electricity blackout, and (3) bullish comments by Russian Oil Minister Novak. Russian Energy Minister Novak on Tuesday said that Russia is on track to meet its OPEC+ production-cut pledge of 228,000 bpd by the end of this month. Mr. Novak also said Russia agreed to an OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring meeting on May 19, which suggested that Russia may be on board with continuing the 1H production cuts into 2H. There was some concern last week about Russia's commitment to production cuts in 2H after Russia insisted on deferring the 2H production cut decision to the last minute in June. Oil prices on Tuesday were also boosted by concern about Venezuelan oil production with the second day of a widespread power outage and with deteriorating US/Russian relations over Venezuela. U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo on Monday warned Russia about sending military personnel to Venezuela and said that the U.S. and other regional countries will not "stand idly by" as Russia exacerbates tensions caused by the "illegitimate" Maduro regime. On the bearish side, the Coast Guard on Monday reopened the Houston Ship Channel for daytime traffic after the recent full closure due to the cloud of benzene and liquid runoff from the petrochemical storage fire in Houston.The consensus for Wednesday's weekly EIA report is for a -3.0 million bbl decline in U.S. crude oil inventories, a -3.0 million bbl decline in gasoline inventories, and a -500,000 bbl decline in distillate inventories. U.S. crude oil inventories last week plunged by -9.59 million bbls and gasoline inventories fell by -4.587 million bbls. U.S. crude oil inventories are currently -1.0% below the 5-year seasonal average, while gasoline inventories are slightly above average by +0.8%. U.S. oil production in last week's EIA report rose by 100,000 bpd to match the record high of 12.1 million first posted in February.
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