Oil tonked again

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Oil is getting tonked for a second consecutive day, as prices have run into resistance at the top of their trading range, sending them staggering lower once more. With record net-long speculative positioning, a couple of days of selling could really ignite a bout of profit-taking (especially with the prospect of another bearish inventory report tomorrow). Hark, here are five things to consider in oil markets today.

1) An article today highlights how the East Coast last year received the most crude imports since 2013. Our ClipperData show this trend holding in January, with waterborne imports reaching their highest level since last July.

Waterborne crude imports last year to the U.S. East Coast were 36 percent higher than in the year prior; the biggest increases came through from Canada, Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela and Iraq, while Mexican crude saw the biggest drop, shrinking by a factor of five to just 15,000 bpd.   

East Coast refiners imported crude grades from 20 different countries last year; over half of that, some 440,000 bpd, was light crude, continuing to displace domestic crude by rail from Bakken. Only 99,000 bpd of waterborne imports was heavy crude.     

crude imports to US East Coast ClipperData Feb 2017.jpg

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2) Our ClipperData below show that LPG exports continue to be robust from the U.S. Gulf, as the region establishes itself as a key global supply hub. As the chart below illustrates, the majority of exports are coming out of three terminals: Enterprise at Houston, Targa Resources at Houston, and Sunoco at Nederland. 

Propane is the primary export, although butane has risen in prominence in the last year. With Asia the key destination for U.S. LPG exports, the widening of the Panama canal has dramatically cut the time it takes U.S. vessels to get to Asia – from