8/05: (6:30 pm) WTI Inches Back, Still Below $90/bbl; The Market Still On Edge Waiting for Next Shoe to Drop in Russia or China

Oil prices inched back up on Friday after declining nearly 15% over the past three weeks.  September crude oil moved up by $0.47/bbl to settle at $89.01/bbl.   General malaise around the prospects for a global recession continues to permeate market sentiment.  But the threat of a supply disruption related to Russia-Ukraine and heightened tensions between the U.S. and China is still out there.   Any significant increase in geopolitical tensions could see crude prices back above $100/bbl in very short order.

Hot weather continues to dominate the forecasts, although heavy rains have brought cooler weather to some parts of the country.  That mixed message resulted in lackluster trading on Friday, with the September natgas contract moving $0.058/MMbtu lower to settle at $8.064/MMbtu.  The market continues to digest the announcement earlier this week that the Freeport LNG terminal and the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reached a consent agreement to restart the facility.  That should tighten the market and boost prices, but it is not going to happen until October.  So for right now, the market still needs hot weather to stay balanced.