U.S. benchmark oil closed Friday at its highest level since March 25, with an end-of-the-week surge that pushed WTI crude (CL1:COM) to a 0.7% weekly gain at $110.49/bbl.
But the modest gain in the commodity was not enough to lift the S&P energy sector (NYSEARCA:XLE) into positive territory, finishing the week -2.5%.
U.S. natural gas (NG1:COM) ended the week 4.7% lower at $7.663/MMBtu, only its third weekly fall in the past 13 weeks, after prices hit a 14-year high last week, nearly reaching $9.
Energy investors remain concerned over falling U.S. inventories of refined fuels, especially diesel, and that refiners could overcompensate the imbalance by making more diesel fuel and less gasoline, leading to drops in gasoline inventories.
U.S. gasoline futures surged more than 5% this week to an all-time high $3.958/gallon after stockpiles fell for a sixth straight week, raising the gasoline crack spread – a measure of refining profit margins – to its highest since hitting a record in April 2020 when WTI crude went negative.
“Gasoline is moving in the wrong direction for the consumer” ahead of the summer driving season, Mizuho’s Robert Yawger said, noting U.S. gasoline storage has not increased since March – foreshadowing more pain ahead at the pump.
Fuels are the bullish driver for crude, especially as Russian diesel exports drop, BOK Financial’s Dennis Kissler told Bloomberg. “The path of least resistance still looks higher for all petroleum products as demand continues to outstrip supplies.”
The week’s top 5 gainers in energy and natural resources: (NASDAQ:VTNR) +27.5%, (GNE) +17.8%, (TREC) +16.3%, (GSM) +11.3%, (DINO) +9.8%.
The week’s top 5 decliners in energy and natural resources: (FLNC) -29.7%, (MTR) -25%, (HUSA) -25%, (NRGV) -24.8%, (INDO) -24.2%.