Despite the advent of alternate and renewable sources of energy, Oil remains the largest consumed non-renewable energy resource on the planet. Even after the Greenhouse effect debates, pollution, etc. we are still using Oil in a big way.
Although a shift has begun, a complete switch out of Oil will definitely take some decades and a lot of technological innovations. Gasoline Price is very closely tied to Consumer Expenditure, and many industrial activities, volatility in Gasoline Prices, affects the economy directly. Hence, understanding of Gasoline Price changes, its causes and consequences are essential for us in assessing macroeconomic indicators like Inflation, Personal Consumption Expenditures, or Consumer Prices Index, etc.
What is Gasoline Price? And Why is it important?
Gasoline is a carbon-based fuel that is extracted from Crude Oil through a process of distillation and refinement. Crude Oil is dark, heavy, and a sticky liquid that is naturally formed inside Earth. It is extracted, boiled to varying degrees, to distill away impurities to obtain purer forms like Diesel, Petrol (or Gasoline), or Fuel Oils, etc. Gasoline is lighter and is more in demand in the market.
As shown below, Oil is still the largest consumed energy source in the world, accounting for about 34% of all energy sources consumed. Gasoline is one of the first products that is obtained from Crude Oil. The general population and many industries depend on Gasoline heavily to conduct their lifestyle. Today almost, every household has a car or bike that requires Gasoline.
Changing Gasoline prices have a direct effect on the general public and dependent industries like Transportation sectors. Increasing Gasoline prices are always followed by a bitter reaction from the public as it increases their daily expenditures, how industries ship goods.
Gasoline prices are dependent on the following critical factors
Crude Oil Prices: The raw material used for Gasoline production primarily drives the Crude Oil Price as per the United States Energy Information Administration. Crude Oil is available on almost all the continents, except Australia, where it is quite less relatively. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela have the most abundant reserves of Crude Oil and are essential players in the global Oil market.
The process of extraction is also dependent on terrain where Crude Oil is found. For example, in Canada, the sandpits of Alberta make it challenging to extract Crude Oil that makes it relatively expensive.
Refining: The number of impurities present in the extracted Crude Oil also categorizes the Oil into “sweet or sour Oil.” Sweeter/Lighter Crude Oil contains lesser impurities and hence is easier to refine. The heavy or sour Oil is more abundant and relatively less in demand. The sweet is the more preferred Oil and is the standard when we see Crude Oil pricing. Refining costs vary seasonally as different parts of the world have to follow different mandates on pollution levels, refining technologies available in the regions. Other ingredients like ethanol that are mixed into Gasoline are also minor factors.
Taxes: Taxes add to the Gasoline prices. The Governing body of the country imposes the excise taxes that add to the final consumer price. As of now, on average, all taxes, i.e., federal and local state taxes, included average to 17% of the total Gasoline price.
(Picture Credits: gaspricesexplained.com)
Transportation: Most of the Gasoline is shipped from refineries by pipeline to terminals near consumer regions. It is delivered through tanker trucks to individual gas stations. The price of all this transportation cost and profits are included in the final price. The taxes and transportation costs remain largely constant relative to the Crude Oil price volatility.
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): It is an organization of 12-oil major producing countries that make up 46% of the world’s oil production. They regulate the price of fuel to sustain this non-renewable resource for an extended period.
Speculation: Energy traders speculate Oil prices frequently that drive up or down the Oil prices based on their projected views about the future Oil prices. The volatility is increased due to speculation and tends to create an asset bubble.
How can the Gasoline Price numbers be used for analysis?
There is a positive correlation between Gasoline and Crude Oil prices in general. The dependency on Gasoline, a high growth rate of the emerging countries, increasing world population, etc. all have increased the demand for Gasoline overtime. For now, there is no significant alternative to compete with Gasoline. Other options like Natural Gas, Electric vehicles are in their budding state and would take some years before they can become worthy alternatives.
Gasoline is a daily consumption, a non-durable commodity that is required by every country. There is no country as of now that is entirely Gasoline-independent. Every country uses Gasoline for one or the other purposes as it has 84% fuel efficiency when burnt (meaning 84% of it is converted into energy).
As attempts to significantly switch to alternate sources of energy are being made, there is still some time left before we see renewable alternatives to Gasoline.
Impact on Currency
An increase in Gasoline Prices is reflected in the Personal Consumption Expenditures reports. As fewer people are able to afford highly-priced Gasoline, Industries dependent on Gasoline mainly observe a cut in their profits that slows down their business. To avoid this, they may increase prices of their end product to compensate for this increase, which again inflates the economy further. The rising costs of Gasoline are terrible for the economy and the currency. It leads to price rises lead to currency depreciation.
Lowered Gasoline prices, stimulate consumption, and increases expenditure in other sectors by public and dependent industries. Changes in Gasoline prices due to Crude Oil price changes take about 4-6 weeks to translate. Gasoline prices are lagging indicators for the Energy traders and have a low impact on the Energy trading community. On the other hand, prolonged increases in Gasoline prices has long term depreciating impact on the currency and the economy.
Gasoline prices are available daily on the internet on many websites. For the United States, The United States Energy Information and Administration releases the weekly Petroleum status report on its official website.
The OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report details the significant causes affecting the world Oil Market that is published on the 12-16th of every month on their website.
Sources of Gasoline Prices
Global Oil market prices & News can be found in the below-mentioned sources.
Impact of the ‘Gasoline Prices’ news release on the price charts
Gasoline Prices have a major role to play went it comes to the development of the nation. Everyone knows that higher Gas Prices will make each of to pay more at petrol bunks, leaving less to spend on other goods and services. It not only has an effect on the public on an individual level, but higher gas prices also have an effect on the broader economy. Economists and analysts also believe that there is a direct correlation between consumer confidence, spending habits, and gas prices. As gas prices decrease, a large percentage of institutional traders feel that the economy is ‘getting better.’ By this, we can say that the announcement of Gasoline Prices have a major impact on the currency pairs and can cause moderate to high volatility in the pair.
In today’s article, we will be analyzing the impact of Gasoline prices of North America on the U.S. dollar. The Gasoline Prices are published on a Weekly, Monthly, and Annual basis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. They also provide a statistical analysis of the report. The above image shows the weekly retail Gasoline Prices.
AUD/USD | Before The Announcement
We start our analysis with the AUD/USD currency pair, and the above image shows the state of the chart before the Gasoline Prices are announced. The market essentially is moving in a ‘range’ where the price is repeatedly reacting from ‘resistance’ equals ‘support’ area. Also, the overall trend remains to be up. In such a market scenario, it is prudent to wait for the news announcement and then trade based on the change in volatility in the market. As the Gasoline Price economic indicator is a highly impactful event, there can be extreme movements in the market on either side. However, technically, the bias is on the ‘buy’ side.
AUD/USD | After The Announcement
After the weekly Gasoline Prices are released, price drops sharply, and volatility increases on the downside, owing to a decrease in the Gasoline Prices compared to the previous week. As the U.S. dollar is on the right-hand side of the pair, to buy the U.S. dollar, we need to sell the currency pair. This is why we see a fall in the price after the data is announced, which was positive for the U.S. economy. Even though the market reacted to the news release on expected lines, we should not forget that the price is exactly at the bottom of the range. It is not surprising to see buying strength from here, and therefore we should wait for key levels to be broken to trade based on the News.
EUR/USD | Before The Announcement
EUR/USD | After The Announcement
The above images represent the EUR/USD currency pair. Looking at the first image, we can say that the market is in a downtrend that began recently. Since the selling pressure is above average in the pair, a news announcement that is positive for the U.S. economy is favorable for taking a ‘short’ trade in the pair. On the other hand, we can look to ‘buy’ the pair only if the news release is extremely bad for the U.S. economy.
After the announcement is made, the market falls, and what we see is a firm bearish candle. A decrease in Gasoline Prices is considered to be positive for the economy and, thus, the currency, which is why traders sell Euro and buy U.S. dollars. One can sell the currency pair after a retracement of the price to the moving average.
USD/CAD | Before The Announcement
USD/CAD | After The Announcement
Lastly, we discuss the USD/CAD currency pair where before the news announcement, we see that the market is in a very strong uptrend and currently at a place from where the market had reversed earlier. The continuous bullish green candles suggest a great amount of strength in the U.S. dollar. Thus, a negative Gasoline Price indicator data that is bad enough to cause a reversal in the trend is an appropriate situation for going ‘short’ in the pair. Technically, the chart is more supportive of going ‘long’ in the pair.
After the data is released, we see that the price breaks out above the resistance area and closes as a ‘bullish’ candle. Here too, the market reacted similarly to the above pairs based on the robust Gasoline Prices. One should be ‘buying’ this pair only after the price retraces to the moving average and bounces off from the line. In this way, we will be trading along with the trend, and the stop loss will be below the ‘news candle.’
That’s about ‘Gasoline Prices’ and its news release impact on the Forex market. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below. Good luck!