Propane inventories built 2.2M/bbls for the week ending April 22nd, 2022.
National inventory levels now sit at 39.2M/bbls. Propane inventories are 4.4% lower now than where they were a year ago this week, which is a considerable jump from last week, when inventories were lagging 8.7% year over year.
This is because there was a build of just 500,000/bbls for this same week, one year ago and we built 2.2M/bbls this year,
The images above shows the inventory trajectory for the past eight years and you can see that our current level is on par with 2016 (likely more pure propane as propylene was counted in the 2016 numbers).
Exports were strong this week, at 1.397M/bpd, up nearly 200,000/bpd from last week but nearly 200,000/bpd less than two weeks ago. Propane production was stronger this week, at 2.47M/bpd vs 2.428M/bpd last week.
I spoke to a number of retailers at the recently concluded NPGA event in Nashville, some of them with agriculture ties. The rate of this planting season was a popular topic, and as you can see in the image on the right, the rate of this year’s corn planting is lagging behind the five year average and behind last year. Last year’s planting season got off to a slow start as well, but caught up rapidly at about this time of year.
I think the planting pace will continue to lag behind last year’s pace for at least another week. Last year’s plant caught up to the five year average by the end of May and roughly 80% of the corn was in the ground by the middle of May. We have a ways to go to get there, but the American farmer is a resilient and tireless worker…so weather permitting, I would expect to see this year’s plant rate be strong and approach the five-year average. However, nobody controls the weather.
Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri saw some record breaking low temperatures yesterday. Those frost risks moved eastward this morning. When you look at the temperature forecasts below, for the next four weeks, you see the upper third of the country could continue to see below normal temperatures. With one of the coldest April’s on record this year, soil temperatures are just not suitable for wide-scale planting.