Thanksgiving week usually features low-volume, low-volatility moves in the energy complex, but so far in this holiday-shortened week, we have seen none of that with crude prices being influenced by heightened volatility in the equity markets and natural gas prices being supported by predictions of an extremely early triple-digit drawdown in supply.
After two-days of trading, crude oil futures were already down 5.73 percent, while natural gas prices were up 5.36 percent. Volatility came down a bit on Wednesday and Thursday after the government released its latest reports on crude oil inventories and natural gas supply (a 134 BcF draw in natural gas inventories, and a moderate build in crude oil stocks. These reports are likely to set the tone for the rest of the session and the rest of the week.
Prices are primarily being influenced by concerns over rising production and falling demand. Output is rising, led by increasing production from the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia, which now accounts for about a third of U.S. daily consumption.
Signs of lower demand are beginning to emerge. On Monday, Japan’s Ministry of Finance reported that October crude oil imports fell by 7.7 percent from the same month last year, to 2.77 million barrels per day (bpd). The International Energy Agency (IEA) is also warning about lower demand due a weakening global economy. Also helping to keep a lid on prices are signs of lower…