Best in Energy – 18 April 2023

Global economic fragmentation and prices (ECB)

Tin prices surge after Myanmar warning (Reuters)

Asia’s oil refining margins are shrinking (Reuters)

California gas connections ban overruled (Reuters)

Russia’s plan for more oil storage (Reuters)

Russia fuel increasingly traded in Gulf (WSJ)

Russia oil sanctions evasion warning (OFAC)

European airlines report strong demand (FT)

U.S. directed-energy weapons systems (GAO)

Gas market quarterly outlook (Oxford Institute)

SINGAPORE’s middle distillate inventories have accumulated since hitting a cyclical low in late November and early December. Stocks are still -2.2 million barrels (-20% or -1.28 standard deviations) below the prior ten-year seasonal average but the deficit has narrowed from -3.1 million barrels (-31% or -1.35 standard deviations) on December 18:

Best in Energy – 7 March 2023

OPEC/U.S. shale firms discuss tight capacity

EU to launch joint gas buying system ($BBG)

China’s next premier will be Li Qiang

BP resets renewable energy strategy

South Korea boosts coal-fired power

Russia’s crude shipped to Middle East

U.S. Customs clears China solar panels

U.S. solar generation and wind farms

U.S. oil firms to get CCS subsidies (FT)

India trade pivots to U.S. allies ($WSJ)

U.S. recession postponed again ($WSJ)

U.S./China relations deteriorate ($FT)

U.S./China escalation strategies ($FT)

U.S. INTEREST RATE traders continue to boost their expectations for benchmark short rates at the end of the year as the central bank signals rates may have to go higher and stay there for longer to bring inflation back to target. Rates are now expected to be around 5.25-5.50% in December 2023 up from an expectation of 4.25-4.50% at the start of February:

COMMITMENT OF TRADERS reports – the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and ICE Futures Europe suspended publication of their commitments of traders reports in late January following a ransomware attack on a major market participant and infrastructure provider which resulted in incomplete submissions. Both are now starting to catch up with the backlog of missed weekly reports. ICE has caught up; the CFTC is still some weeks behind. I am not going to publish a weekly analysis again until they have both caught up fully since the reports now contain very out of date information. For reference, however, the hedge fund and money manager positions on February 7, the most recent currently available, are shown below:

Best in Energy – 15 July 2022

White House downplays hopes for more oil

Middle East imports more Russian fuel oil

Japan plans reactor restarts before the winter

United Kingdom heads for winter crisis ($BBG)

Germany is moving into a recession ($BBG)

ERCOT confident will avoid blackout ($BBG)

U.S. household finances and inflation ($WSJ)

Russia/NATO conflict is test of resolve ($BBG)

Central banks turn hawkish on inflation

U.S. CENTRAL BANK is expected to raise short-term interest rates to 3.50-3.75% by February 2023 up from 1.50-1.75% at present to curb inflation. From the second quarter of 2023, however, policymakers are expected to start reducing interest rates as the economy slows and inflation decelerates:

U.S INTEREST RATE traders anticipate a recession has become virtually certain following the continued acceleration of inflation. The yield curve spread between 2-year and 10-year maturities is now in the 98th percentile for all months since 1990:

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Best in Energy – 13 July 2022

Baltic grids prepare to synchronise to EU rapidly

OPEC predicts oil consumption to rise in 2023

Russia’s fuel exports to Middle East surge ($BBG)

China hydropower generation hits record high

U.S. homes with electric-only energy systems

China hesitates to mandate vaccination ($BBG)

Rapid inflation and its many discontents ($FT)

BRENT’s calendar spread from December 2022 to December 2023 has softened to a backwardation of $8 per barrel from $16 in early June as traders anticipate a cyclical economic slowdown will relieve some of the shortage in oil supply next year:

TEXAS electricity consumption increased at a compound annual rate of +1.5% over the last 20 years, reaching 427 billion kWh in 2021, up from 318 billion kWh in 2001:

U.K. REAL GDP rose by +0.51% in May from April, the fastest increase for four months, with particularly large increases in manufacturing (+0.87%) and construction (+1.54%):

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Recommended reading on energy

The energy bibliography contains the books and articles I have found useful in my own research on energy – defined broadly to include production, consumption, transportation, markets and pricing, but also risk management, technology, elements of economic history and geography, international relations and strategy. The bibliography started out as an aide-memoire and in response to requests for recommendations on particular topics. It has since grown very large so I have introduced an index page with hyperlinking. I update the list every three months with new items. 

The selection is a personal one. These are books and articles I have found most useful and insightful (and well-written in most cases). The latest version contains a lot of new entries about the rise of the coal industry in Britain, including changes in mining technology, transportation, market management, cartels, the economy and society. The expansion of the coal industry provides a lot of lessons about the oil industry in later centuries as well as some of the industries emerging rapidly in the 21st century. 

The latest version can be downloaded here: