Posted in: Opinion,
by Patrick DeHaan on Dec 2, 2009 01:31 PM
All I can say is "it's about time" after looking at oil and gasoline futures today. It seems that against all odds, oil and gasoline have climbed lately with few credible reasons. Oil climbed because Iran seized a yacht? The ability of the US Dollar to fluctuate daily? That pales in comparison to the continued high levels of oil and gasoline in U.S. inventories.
Just this week, oil inventories rose 2.1 million barrels and gasoline inventories rose a whopping 4 million barrels. (READ MORE!) This report reflects Thanksgiving travel, and if I may say- it would seem that we were correct in reporting a lower number of Americans hitting the roads this holiday season.
It appears to me that the market continues to brush this news off or even ignore it, which is not the smartest idea. Oil inventories stand 6.1% higher than a year ago, while gasoline inventories are 5.7% higher. Should I even mention how high distillate fuel inventories are? It is amazing that wholesale gasoline continues to fetch near $2/gallon even after refinery utilization dropped and gasoline inventories rose during a week of travel.
My opinion is that real data would support crude oil at $50, not $77. Along with that, wholesale gasoline prices should be closer to $1.50 than $2. It seems that the "threat" of increased demand and that the "threat" of an economic recovery is adding $20 to each barrel of oil sold and 50-cents to each gallon. How long will it take energy traders and the rest of the world to realize that oil demand and economic recovery won't happen until oil prices go back to reality?
While I have no position in oil and don't particularly care whether it is under $30 or over $80, I do care that it be accurately valued, and right now, it is not.
As I believed and posted in the Spring of 2008, oil was nearing a large correction. That correction happened in late 2008 when prices fell from $147 in July to just over $30 in December. If oil continues to climb in value without a large recovery in jobs, we'll see the stage set for another correction. The gains in oil are, in my opinion, unwarranted. I'm to the point where I believe that global gasoline will grow at a snail pace, and in the U.S. it may even decline for years to come as we shift to more fuel efficient vehicles. But wait, shouldn't that be a "threat" to high oil prices? Apparently not.