Mid-Month to Mid-Month: Are Prices Without Direction?

Are prices lacking direction, or are they trying to acclimate to “new normal” of a world amid COVID-19? Looking to EIA for some answers, its latest July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) analysis has not budged over the past month. Energy prices continue at “heightened levels of uncertainty because mitigation and reopening efforts related to COVID-19 are still evolving.” Further, “Reduced economic activity related to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in energy supply and demand patterns in 2020, particularly for petroleum and other liquid fuels. Uncertainties persist across EIA’s outlook for other energy sources, including natural gas…” Propane prices react to this uncertainty as well.
NLBig Propane Graph July2020

Mid-May found the average posted price at Mont Belvieu at 59.840 cents/gal., stronger than a month prior’s 49.340 cents, and above the year prior’s price of 51.506 cents/gal. The next week saw a fractional loss to end the month at 59.757 cents. July began with a decrease of 3.75 cents to 56.007 cents, but the following week reversed the loss to a gain 2.166 cents to push postings to 58.173. The period finished by edging up 0.167 cents to 58.340 cents.

Conway, Kan. posted prices added slightly more than 6 cents/gal. from a month earlier, topping the 50-cent mark at 54.970 cents/gal. Compared to a year earlier, current prices are 10.74 cents/gal. greater than the 2019 posted prices. The following week, the price decreased to 53.920 cents to finish the month. July began with a slide of 3.35 cents, taking the price down to 50.570 cents. The following week saw a 2.40 cent gain to 52.970 cents, and then a fractional loss of 0.051 cents to 52.919 cents.

Mont Belvieu spot propane entered the period at 50.50-51.25 cents/gal., 10.125 cents above the previous month’s price, and 10.25 cents higher than a year earlier. The following week, prices lost 3 cents, sliding to 47.50-47.875 cents. July began with a 1-cent reduction to 46.50-47.125 cents. The next week saw a saw a 2.04-cent gain to 48.540-48.750 cents, and then a 0.29-cent dip to 48.25-48.75 cents.

Conway spots opened the new period at 49.50-49.75 cents, 5.5 cents higher than a month earlier and a significant 11 cents higher than a year prior. Offers dipped 2.625 cents the following week to 46.875-47.50 cents, and then began July by backing off another cent to 45.875-46.375 cents. Going further into the new month, a gain of 1.625 cents boosted prices to 47.50-48.25 cents. At mid-month, little changed as prices stood at 47.50-48.125 cents.

SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, July 16, 2020. Weekly Propane Newsletter subscribers receive all the latest posted and spot prices from major terminals and refineries around the U.S. delivered to inboxes every week. Receive a center spread of posted prices with hundreds of postings updated each week, along with market analysis, insightful commentary, and much more not found elsewhere.