1. Oil volatility collapses
- For two months, the oil market has been incredibly boring. Brent futures have not moved more than $1 per barrel in either direction over a single day for seven consecutive weeks.
- The OPEC+ cuts have stabilized the physical market, and money managers have placed bets on options that pay off with lower volatility. According to the Wall Street Journal, so-called “strangles” have suppressed implied volatility.
- Implied volatility has declined from a peak of 345 percent on April 21 (when oil prices went negative) to just under 30 percent by late August.
- The trades have trapped oil prices within a narrow range. “It feels like we have two tectonic plates building up energy,” Marwan Younes, chief investment officer of Massar Capital Management, told the WSJ. “The day it gives way will be a fairly eventful day.”
2. Natural gas power burn hit record in July
- On July 27, U.S. natural gas used in the power sector hit a record high at 47.2 billion cubic feet. Gas-fired power generation reached 316 GW, also a record high.
- The previous record stood at 45.4 Bcf, set on August 6, 2019. Gas power burn surpassed that previous record on seven days last month.
- High temperatures and low prices stoked demand. Also new gas-fired power plants added capacity.
- Gas made up 45 percent of U.S. power generation on July 27, with coal at 24 percent, nuclear at 17…