Saturday, April 8, 2017

Fear premium returns with Syria missile strike

I haven't posted an update on oil prices since Supply and demand still work for oil last October.  My last gas price report here came even longer ago than that in June's Oil falls after Brexit vote, pushing prices even lower.  That's because local gas prices have been relatively stable, world oil prices have been rising so slowly as to be boring, and the election and subsequent transition have been much better shiny objects.  That changed Thursday night, when Trump ordered a cruise missile strike on Syria.  That event has had predictable effects on oil markets, as CNN reported yesterday morning in Oil prices leap after US missile strike.

Crude oil prices spiked after the US launched missile strikes against Syria. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
CNN's report was based on oil futures.  Reuters showed those increases lasted until closing in Oil rises after U.S. missile strike in Syria, weekly gain 3 percent.
Oil prices rose on Friday, trading near a one-month high and closing the week up 3 percent after the United States fired missiles at a Syrian government air base, raising concern that the conflict could spread in the oil-rich region.
Brent crude futures settled up 35 cents at $55.24. Brent reached a session high of $56.08, the highest since March 7, shortly after the U.S. missile strike was announced. For the week, Brent was up 4.4 percent.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 54 cents at $52.24 a barrel, off the session high of $52.94.
The wholesale price spike has already had an effect on retail gas prices, as Fox 4 in Ft. Myers, Florida, reported in Gas Prices Rise after Syrian Airstrike.

Overnight, U.S. gas prices went up 3 cents.
I saw the effects of the price spike when I drove through my old neighborhood yesterday to buy gas.  The two stations down the street (the third has been demolished) were selling regular at $2.49, while the one at the corner near my old house was offering the same grade at $2.29.  After using my rewards card, I was able to buy it as $2.26.  Of course I filled up, since I expected prices to rise.  That may have been premature.  Three hours later, the two stations down the street dropped their prices 14 cents to $2.35.  Given my four years of close observation of the three stations' interactions, that was very unusual; normally, the corner station with the high price lowered it to remain competitive.  That behavior, which has all three stations selling well below the Detroit average of $2.53, suggests that the spike may be just that, a temporary panic-driven rise.

I'll keep watching the situation.  If both Syria and the oil markets remain volatile, I'll report on them.  Until then, stay tuned for Sunday's entertainment feature, when I plan on writing about the Hugo Awards.


  1. TO hell with the oil prices, Raytheon stock went up more than $2 er share!

    1. As someone from MA who was in the military, you'd know that. For what it's worth, Northrop Grumman stock also went up several dollars. They bought the company my dad retired from, which makes the guidance systems for the Tomahawk missile.

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    1. Did you know that I've targeted a cruise missile at your spam? BOOM!

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