Employment Cost Index on the rise… WSJ

by Jim Colburn • Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Employment Cost Index was released this morning and was up 0.6 for the quarter and up 2.6 y/y:

Here is the link:


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Venezuela’s oil exports to the US are fading fast… Petroleum Economist

by Jim Colburn • Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Here is Justin Jacobs at the Petroleum Economist:

”Venezuela’s crude exports to the US are having their worst month in 30 years as the country’s oil output continues to suffer under a spiraling economic and political crisis.

Shipments to the US averaged just 394,000 b/d in the first three weeks of January, the lowest monthly pace since 1988, lower even than the bottom of the crippling 2002-03 oil strikes, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.”

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Hedge Funds Bet Big on Oil… Bloomberg

by Jim Colburn • Monday, January 29, 2018

Record bullish bets by hedge funds, from Bloomberg:


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West Canadian Select vs. WTI… WSJ

by Jim Colburn • Monday, January 29, 2018

Vipal Monga and David George-Cosh of the Wall Street Journal do a nice job explaining regional differences in pricing of two different crude streams, WTI and West Canadian Select, here

“Oil producers such as Imperial Oil Ltd. IMO -0.63% , Suncor Energy Inc. SU -0.21% and Cenovus Energy Inc. CVE -1.63% have few avenues to ship their oil to the U.S., their primary market. The pipelines that normally take the crude are almost at capacity, which leaves railroads as the only option for larger shipments.

But Canada’s largest railway companies, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. CP -0.19% and Canadian National Railway Co. , in recent weeks have signaled that they are in no rush to take the oil. They fear oil companies will fill their cars with shorter-term contracts now but shift quickly to pipelines when new capacity becomes available in a few years.”

“Western Canadian Select blend trades at a discount to the North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate because it is more difficult and more expensive for Canadian oil producers to ship their oil from wells to U.S. refineries, and those costs come off the price. The pipelines that normally pump the oil from Western Canada are almost full.

Compounding the issue: TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone pipeline, one of the major arteries taking the oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast, is running at only 80% capacity after suffering a leak late last year in South Dakota.“


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Chartbook… John Kemp, Reuters

by Jim Colburn • Monday, January 29, 2018

John Kemp, Reuters, has an excellent chart book illustrating the tightening of crude oil stocks… Here is one showing Brent and WTI, month one minus month seven, moving from contango to backwardation:

There are more charts here:  http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/ce/5/1394/1392/CRUDE%20OIL%20CALENDAR%20SPREADS%20AND%20STOCKS.pdf

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US Oil production… CarpeDiem

by Jim Colburn • Friday, January 26, 2018

US oil production, from CarpeDiem  :

More production data can be found at the EIA’s site, here:  https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=WCRFPUS2&f=W





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China shifts to gas… WSJ

by Jim Colburn • Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sarah McFarlane and Nathaniel Taplin have a nice piece in today’s Wall Street Journal on China’s move out of coal into natural gas:

”China’s smog levels are still well in excess of World Health Organization standards, and analysts see no letup in the country’s move out of coal, which releases more greenhouse gas emissions than gas.”

Here is the link:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-sucks-gas-out-of-global-market-amid-shift-from-coal-1516703401?mod=djem_EnergyJournal

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Hedge funds still bullish oil… Kemp/Reuters

by Jim Colburn • Tuesday, January 23, 2018

John Kemp at Reuters has a chart book using data from the CFTC’s Committment of Traders Report and ICE, none more telling than this one:

Here is the link:  https://www.reuters.com/article/oil-prices-kemp/column-hedge-fund-trade-in-oil-becomes-very-crowded-kemp-idUSL8N1PH3SX


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The World Economies Are Growing… WSJ

by Jim Colburn • Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It doesn’t happen often, but economies of 45 countries tracked by the OECD are growing:

“From 2012 to 2016 the global economy grew only about 2.5% a year, according to World Bank data. That pace rose to 3% in 2017 and is expected to climb a bit further in 2018, reaching the highest level in seven years.”

This from the Wall Street Journal here:  https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-worlds-economies-are-growing-in-rare-harmony-1516655907?mod=djem_EnergyJournal


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January’s cold weather affects electricity generation mix.. EIA

by Jim Colburn • Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The always excellent “Today in Energy” shows the change in fuel mix for electricity generation during the recent bitter cold:



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