Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

Gasoline Rises, but Demand Worries Persist

June 30, 2009

GAITHERSBURG, MD - Petroleum futures rallied across a broad front June 29 with expectations, even as other commodities, including natural gas, posted a mixed performance. Crude oil closed within a few dollars of its 2009 high, but gasoline and heating oil are some 5-8 percent or so below top levels witnessed earlier in the month, the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) reports.

The International Energy Agency, which previously talked of the hazards of low investment thanks to the 2008 price plunge, projected that sluggish demand might persist so that non-OPEC production cuts wouldn't cast a shadow until a year or more from now. The Energy Information Administration, meanwhile, released some stats that showed that April 2009 gasoline demand was perhaps 91,000 b/d or so lower than what weekly statistical bulletins had implied. EIA's data on diesel declined, with demand for ULSD some 13.7 percent lower in April 2009 than in April 2008, numbers suggest, according to OPIS.

Yet most petroleum futures were up by about three percent June 29. August WTI rallied by $2.33 bbl in the session, settling at $71.49 bbl.

RBOB at one point looked as though it might reach a double digit gain, but it advanced by "only" 6.17cts gal today to $1.9358 gal for July delivery. August contracts were up 6.35cts gal to $1.9358 gal.

Heating oil couldn't quite match crude oil gains, but July futures added 5.32 cents gal and settled at $1.7835 gal while August contracts rose 5.27 cents gal to $1.8372 gal.

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