The sellers have returned to energy markets after a 2 week hiatus, with bearish demand figures from the DOE and a return of the nerves in equity markets combining forces for 3 straight days of selling that have wiped out half of the February recovery rally.

Don’t adjust your dials:  The April RBOB contract took over the prompt position today, which trades some 18 cents higher than the newly expired March contract due to the change in RVP requirements.  While a futures-only chart may show a 16 cent jump this morning, cash prices are down about a penny at the moment and most are down 9 cents from where they were on Monday

While total US Crude oil stocks built, and production stayed strong north of 10.2 million barrels/day, the draining of Cushing continued with inventories at the NYMEX hub reaching their lowest level in more than 3 years.   PADD 3 crude stocks built by 4.5 million barrels last week, with exports dropping by 600,000 barrels/day accounting for essentially the entire build.

Refinery runs ticked up on the week, and continue to outpace last year’s record rates.  Unless there’s a large amount of last-minute turnaround activity ahead of the spring RVP transition it looks like refiners are close to making the seasonal turn and will be ramping up rates soon.

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