Not only did we see OPEC production fall for the first time in 4 months, OPEC and other reporting agencies instead saw demand exceptions for OPEC crude. OPEC production fell to 30.004 million barrels a day excluding Libya, Nigeria as Saudi Arabia oil production fell to 9.95 million barrels a day according to the Saudis. OPEC raised its oil demand growth estimate for 2017 to 1.42 million barrels a day up 50,000 barrels a day putting global demand at 96.8 million barrels a day.
In a nut shell, all agencies are seeing more supply and less production. Storm related demand destruction and seasonal factors is very bullish into year end.
Natural gas is up with pipeline delays and less impact on energy infrastructure than feared. Andy Weissman says that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have led to an inflection point in the natural gas storage trajectory, with a total net estimated demand loss of 70 Bcf, sharply reducing the extent of upside pressure likely later this fall. Nevertheless, the front-month contract rallied earlier this week on smaller-than-feared Irma impact, potential delays to Rover Phase 1b, and bullish weather shifts. The October natural gas contract has closed between $2.88 and $3.07/MMBtu for longer than a month. While the most-likely scenario is for continued range-bound trading, if support or resistance fails, a significant price movement becomes likely. By late fall, a potentially sharp increase in weather-driven demand for natural gas, augmented by a ramp-up in LNG exports, could propel NYMEX futures higher. Electricity futures may succumb and move lower with seasonal demand, particularly if natural gas prices break lower in the near term.
The grain report was bearish for beans and corn as the yields came in at or higher than expectations. We also saw acres come in higher. Wheat was a bit more friendly. DTN reported that corn prices fell after USDA increased its average yield estimate in the September report. This pushed corn production to 14.184 billion bushels. Ethanol futures were mixed to mostly lower on the weakness in corn, although the firm RBOB gasoline market did draw some buyers back into the energy complex.
Reuters reports the use of ethanol in gasoline will go nationally by 2020, state media reported on Wednesday citing a government document, as Beijing intensifies its push to boost industrial demand for corn and clean up choking smog. It's the first time the government has set a targeted timeline for pushing the biofuel, known as E10 and containing 10 % corn, across the world's largest car market, although it has yet to announce a formal policy. Mandates requiring that a minimum amount of biofuel must be blended into fuel for the nation's cars, similar to the United States and Brazil, are currently set at a provincial level. "This news has greatly boosted confidence inside the industry," said Michael Mao, an analyst with Sublime China Information, adding that without government support ethanol would likely be too expensive to survive in the market.