US crude oil futures
WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil (RYE)(VDE)(XLE) futures contracts for October delivery were flat at $49.89 per barrel on September 15.
WTI crude oil futures rose 5.1% last week. They’re at their highest level since July 31. Brent crude oil futures rose 3.4% last week to a five-month high. Prices rose due to the following factors.
- a recovery in US refinery crude oil demand after Hurricane Harvey
- the IEA (International Energy Agency) estimating that global crude oil supply and demand are narrowing
- expectations for a three-month extension of a production cut deal beyond March 2018
US refinery crude oil demand
The EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) estimates that US refinery crude oil demand fell by 394,000 bpd (barrels per day) or 2.7% to 14,078,000 bpd from September 1 to 8. Refinery demand fell by 2,652,000 bpd, or 15.8%, year-over-year.
US refinery crude oil demand fell 20% or 3,647,000 bpd between August 25 and September 8 due to Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Texas refineries have processed more crude oil last week post-hurricane Harvey. US refinery crude oil demand could rise further this week and support crude oil (XLE)(USO)(UCO) prices. The EIA estimates that only three refineries on the Gulf Coast were shut for the week ending September 8, 2017.
S&P 500 and Dow Jones
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index hit an all-time high on September 15. The S&P 500 gained ~12% year-to-date. The information technology, healthcare, and utilities sectors have been driving the S&P 500 in 2017.
In this series, we’ll look at the major oil producers’ production cut deal, the US dollar, crude oil price movements in the last 18 months, Cushing crude oil inventories, and the US crude oil rig count.