This Week’s Market Buzz

• Oil prices steadied near two-year highs and the market outlook remained upbeat as OPEC-led supply cuts tightened the market and drained inventories. Brent crude was up 3 cents at $60.51 per barrel. U.S. light crude was up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $54.36, almost 30 percent above its 2017 lows in June. Confidence has been fueled by an effort lead by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia to hold back about 1.8 million barrels per day in oil production to tighten markets.

• Eagle Materials Inc. reported financial results for its second quarter ended Sept. 30, 2017. The company noted that its Oil and Gas Proppants segment enjoyed second quarter revenues of $22 million, a 232 percent increase from the prior year reflecting improved frac sand sales volumes and net sales prices.

• McLanahan Corp.’s Mark Krause, commenting on market conditions for Rock Products’ Quarry & Aggregates (Q&A) Forum, said that, “Business is very strong right now with frac sand and aggregates leading the way. The frac sand bubble of West Texas was unexpected but very welcome. In a little less than a year, the West Texas region will go from zero tons of annual production to over 25 million tons of production. For now it is about speed to market and larger operations. Our process knowledge and strength in frac sand for many years has positioned us well.” That view was reiterated by Volvo Construction Equipment’s Tony Spake, who said, “One hotspot is industrial minerals, including renewed optimism in frac sand, which includes the expansion currently occurring in West Texas.

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