and imports of distillates at a 26 week low.. Commenter R.J.S.
Oil prices moved lower this week on rising Covid cases globally and on a surprise increase in US crude supplies . . . after rising 6.1% to $63.13 a barrel last week on strong economic data and on upwardly revised demand forecasts, the contract price of US light sweet crude for May delivery opened lower on Monday on trader’s jitters over surging Covid cases in Europe and India, but recovered to finish with a 25 cent gain at $63.38 a barrel as a weaker dollar supported prices by making oil cheaper for holders of other currencies. Oil prices continued higher early Tuesday, hitting a one month high of $64.30, following reports of an outage in Libya, but pulled back on fears that India, (third-largest oil importer) would impose restrictions as coronavirus infections and deaths surged to record highs. and settled 94 cents lower at 62.44 a barrel, as trading in the May oil contract expired. Oil reports now referencing the contract price of US light sweet crude for June delivery, which had closed down 74 cents at 62.67 a barrel on Tuesday, opened lower on Wednesday after the American Petroleum Institute reported an unexpected increase in crude supplies, and then tumbled to close $1.32, or more than 2% lower at $61.35 per barrel. This came after the EIA confirmed that crude oil stockpiles had unexpectedly edged higher last week. Oil prices continued falling early Thursday on expectations that rising coronavirus cases in India and Japan would cause demand to decline, but recovered to close 8 cents higher at $61.43 per barrel as traders noted that overall oil demand remained robust in the two largest oil markets, the U.S. and China. Oil prices moved higher again on Friday on strong economic reports from Europe and the US and settled with a gain of 71 cents at $62.14 a barrel but still finished with a loss of 1.6% on the week, as spreading coronavirus cases in countries such as India tempered positive signs out of the U.S. and Europe.
On the other hand, natural gas prices finished higher this week on an outbreak of record cold that spread to most points east of the Rockies . . . after rising 6.1% to a five-week high of $2.680 per mmBTU last week on strong LNG exports and on an unexpected temperature drop, the contract price of natural gas for May delivery resumed its climb on Monday, buoyed by near-record export demand and the arrival of intensifying cold weather, and settled 6.9 cents, or 2.6%, higher at a six week high of $2.749 per mmBTU . . . . but prices slipped on Tuesday on forecasts for milder weather and lower heating demand over the next two weeks than was previously expected and finished 2.2 cents, or 0.8%, lower at $2.727 per mmBTU . . . natural gas price continued to retreat on Wednesday as production ticked higher and export demand slipped, closing down another 3.5 cents to $2.692 per mmBTU . . . however, prices rallied on a bullish natural gas storage report on Thursday and recouped the losses from both days, closing 5.7 cents higher at $2.749 per mmBTU, now a seven week high…prices were off 1.9 cents to $2.730 per mmBTU on Friday on forecasts for the weather to moderate over the next two weeks, but still finished the week 1.9% higher than the prior Friday’s close..
The natural gas storage report from the EIA for the week ending April 16th indicated that the amount of natural gas held in underground storage in the US rose by 38 billion cubic feet to 1,883 billion cubic feet by the end of the week, which left our gas supplies 251 billion cubic feet, or 11.8% below the 2,134 billion cubic feet that were in storage on April 16th of last year, but 12 billion cubic feet, or 0.6% above the five-year average of 1,871 billion cubic feet of natural gas that have been in storage as of the 16th of April in recent years. The 38 billion cubic feet that were added to US natural gas storage this week was close to the average forecast of a 37 billion cubic foot addition from an S&P Global Platts survey of analysts, as well as to the average addition of 37 billion cubic feet of natural gas that have typically been injected into natural gas storage during the same week over the past 5 years, but it was less than the 47 billion cubic feet added to natural gas storage during the corresponding week of 2020.