The New Norm: A Wider Spread between Brent, WTI
Just this week the Brent/WTI spread has widened from just under $12 on Monday to at one point Thursday around $16 per barrel. Besides overseas refiners locking in supplies ahead of the July embargo with Iran, the DJ-UBS Index was recently rebalanced with one-third of the contracts shifted to Brent from WTI. Additionally, relief due to oversupply at Cushing (WTI's hub) is not expected to dissipate until late 2012, at the earliest. All of these factors reflect favorably when comparisons between crude grades are considered.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery on the NYMEX settled down $1.25 to $96.36 per barrel. March futures for Brent crude, started up, fell hard and regained lost ground at the end of the day to finish at $112.15 per barrel; a gain of $0.59, or one-half percent, above Wednesday's close.
Natural gas bucked its losing streak gaining 7.2 percent on the day. March contracts for natural gas settled at $2.55 per MMBtu, helped by a larger than expected inventory draw, as reported by the EIA.
Among refined products, March reformulated gasoline blendstock's trend of up days ended. RBOB was finished down 2 cents, or one percent, to $2.8689 per gallon.
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