Underscoring the need for long-overdue freight rail reform, American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) President and CEO Donna Harman urged the United States Senate to quickly confirm the nominations of Patrick Fuchs and Michelle Schultz to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation approved the nominations on Wednesday, April 25. “As one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, the paper and wood products industry relies on the nation’s rails to move millions of tons of materials to production mills and final markets. Revoking the outdated commodity exemption policy and addressing harmful service failures and higher pricing will help ensure the accessibility of effective, streamlined and competitive rail service to our companies all rail customers. We thank the committee for its approval and urge the Senate to quickly confirm Mr. Fuchs and Ms. Schultz.”
Oil edged higher on Wednesday, nearing three-year highs reached the previous day, as rising U.S. fuel inventories and production weighed on an otherwise bullish market. Weekly data on Tuesday that showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories also subdued the oil price somewhat. The prospect of fresh sanctions on Tehran and disruption to the country’s oil flows has helped push the oil price to its highest since late 2014 this month.
“Prices are being driven up by tight supply due to high production outages in Venezuela plus the cuts implemented by OPEC and Russia,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank. “What is more, demand appears robust.” The United States has until May 12 to decide whether to quit a nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions against the third-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, tightening global supplies. OPEC’s supply curtailments and the threat of new sanctions are occurring as demand in Asia, the biggest oil-consuming region, has risen to a record. Click Read More below for additional information.
Futures in New York dropped as much as 0.8 percent after data showed American drillers added five working oil rigs last week, stoking fears over surging U.S. output. The May oil contract gained 1.5 percent last week before expiring Friday as OPEC producers said supply curbs should continue in order to revive investments in oil and gas production. In the U.S., explorers have added 23 rigs so far this month, bringing the total working rigs to 820 last week, Baker Hughes data showed. The nation’s crude production has more than doubled from the lows of a decade ago, topping 10 million barrels a day each week since early February.
National Average Price for Regular – Current: $2.751; Month Ago: $2.558; Year Ago: $2.422. National Average Price for Diesel – Current: $3.025; Month Ago: $2.928; Year Ago: $2.537.