August Crude Oil closed up 0.58 at 44.82. This was 1.15 up from the low and 0.08 off the high.
August Heating Oil closed up 2.28 at 144.21. This was 3.64 up from the low and 0.18 off the high.
August RBOB Gasoline finished up 2.73 at 147.90, 0.05 off the high and 4.61 up from the low.
August Natural Gas finished up 0.02 at 3.08, 0.04 off the high and 0.03 up from the low.
All things considered, the action in crude oil prices following the weekly API/EIA inventory stats has to be viewed by the bull camp as a moral victory. In fact, relative to expectations for this week’s inventories the actual figures were patently bearish, but yet prices held their recent short covering gains in a manner that speaks of a possible bottom. The saving grace for the bull camp this week from the weekly readings came from a decline in gasoline stocks and a decent implied gasoline demand result. The trade should be supported by news that Chinese crude oil and natural gas production declined by nearly 3% in the 1st quarter, especially since China as of July 1st will implement a ban on coal imports to certain ports as that should increase natural gas imports and/or begin to chew
down excess supplies of coal in the country. In addition to favorable private economic assessments of the Chinese economy, the trade has also seen Chinese crude oil consumption gain nearly 5% in the first four months of 2017. In short, modest improvements in demand and mostly level supply side developments gives some credence to the bounce off the recent lows but current conditions alone probably aren’t enough to produce a consistent up trend in prices.