As the main market movers of the week are already behind us, Friday is not a day that is expected to move prices much.
The market enjoyed a week free of bearish news, so prices – despite brief fluctuations – are supported in the end of the week.
OPEC+ policy stability is providing the long-term predictability that traders needs to cement the currently strong oil price levels and no major surprises are expected unless there is a notable change in the demand trajectory.
Today’s modest rise in oil prices is supported by a favorable macro sentiment, with optimism coming from the reported draw in US crude stocks from last week, the fact that US total products inventories are at the lowest level at this time of year since 2018, while refinery demand in Louisiana continues to recover slowly from the flooding and power outages.
The storm has caused severe flooding, fatalities and dampening especially road demand temporarily on its path towards New York/New Jersey. Traffic is down and road demand (gasoline, road diesel) in New York and New Jersey over the last three days is at least 200,000 bpd lower versus August average levels. The effects will, in oil market terms, be transient and do not cause traders to have reassess balances and price expectations as it currently stands.
However, we do find surprising that in the aftermath of Ida the BSEE report showed US GoM outages increased yesterday to 93% from 80% the prior day, despite a lack of updates from operators and reports that more staff is brought back onto the platforms.
Right now, the assessment by the market seems to be that refinery and production outages more or less exactly match at around 1.7 million bpd.
While it is realistic that US GoM production will recover first, it is too early to know how quickly refiners will be able to restore full operations in Louisiana.
Prices are also supported by recovering demand in Asia, robust leading indicators for European Purchasing Manager Indices (PMIs) reported this morning, with robust activity growth expected for the large European countries for the month ahead.
Today, however, the markets eagerly await the US jobs market report, the so-called non-farm payrolls, where consensus expects a strong 725,000 new jobs increase for August, slightly down from July’s 943,000.
But since it’s Friday, we would not be surprised to see some profit taking and price retreat towards the end of the US session, unless there is a massive bullish surprise in the US labor market supporting demand expectations.