OPEC has a "technical deal" that could be solidified at a technical meeting this week in Vienna. All the major players are saying they are optimistic that a deal will be reached barring any last-minute blow ups. Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq and Iran all say that a production deal is within reach and it is possible that even the skeptics are starting to believe it. Even Goldman Sachs is raising their price forecast and many analysts that said a deal would never get done are now acknowledging that a deal to cut output is looking increasingly likely.
The main reason the deal looks like it’s done is the countries that were against cutting their own output and disputing OPEC take on their production numbers, say the differences are narrowing.
Iraq killed the last technical meeting by claiming they should be exempt from cuts are now offering three new proposals to cut production. Iraq’s Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said, “Our alternatives are based on other variables and will make it easier for OPEC members to make a decision,” per the Wall Street Journal.
Iran also is moving toward working with OPEC. Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh, as reported by Reuters said, "We are receiving positive signals that increase the likelihood of agreement at the meeting ... and I'm optimistic about the situation," Zanganeh told state television by telephone, after meeting OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo in Tehran ahead of the Nov. 30 meeting. "I think if we can reach an agreement, God willing, the price would rapidly reach above $50 per barrel ... If non-OPEC (producers) also cooperate, I don't think $55 per barrel would be out of reach.”
Well, we know that one non-OPEC producer is ready to cut output. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country would freeze its oil output. Reuters reported that Russia is ready to freeze its oil output - among the world's highest - at current levels as there would be no problems for Moscow to do so, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday. OPEC nations are due to agree a world oil freeze pact with non-OPEC countries on Nov. 30. "We will do everything that our partners from OPEC are expecting. To freeze crude production is not an issue for us," Putin told a news conference in Lima after the APEC summit. Putin also said he has seen a "high probability" that the deal aiming to prop up the markets and boost prices would be reached in an OPEC meeting next week.
Oil is also getting a break from a pullback in the dollar. The dollar has been on a tear since Donald Trump was elected President, and it may be ready for a bit of a break. The strong dollar has been a headwind for oil. Any break in the U.S. dollar with the prospect of an OPEC/non-OPEC accord could propel oil sharply higher.
Natural gas is getting a taste of winter. The market gapped higher overnight after posting strong gains on Friday! We should see our first withdrawal of the season this week so we may have hit bottom. Continue to buy breaks and put on long term strategies in a market they may be at a long-term bottom.