Crude oil prices are walking a tightrope as attempts to break out in either direction this week have failed. More questions and fewer answers. The oil trade is marking time as it waits to see whether the United States will walk away from the Iranian trade deal or if Iran decides to negotiate, which is something they have said they will not do. We saw oil rally hard as the U.S. stock market rebounded from sharply lower levels and reports of a lot of activity and an Iranian nuclear facility.
Iran lied. Big time. Crude oil prices were fading before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he was going to share “significant development” on the Iranian nuclear deal. That comment turned oil around in its tracks, with a little help from Genscape that showed supply in Cushing, Okla., fell back significantly from the increase they reported last week.
Making collusion great again. The OPEC says that its recent move to cut oil production had nothing to do with greed, but they acted with a “noble goal” of rescuing the global oil market. These comments came from the UAE energy minister Suhail Al Mazrouei, who said it’s not about raising prices it is about the noble endeavor of working to reduce oversupply. Well, in a way he does have a point.
The breakout above major four-star resistance continues, but so does the lack of participation; volume this week has been at the lowest of the year. However, yesterday’s rally was fairly broad being led by tech. Despite good earnings, the banks are fighting to hold ground and have underperformed greatly given the landscape.
After a rough go in 2014 and 2015, energy prices slowly began their upward ascent in 2016 after bottoming out under $30 per barrel early that year. Since then, Brent crude oil touched $70 before settling comfortably above the $60 mark this year.
Crude oil sold off on tariff fears but rallied back as Saudi Arabia is signaling that they are just crazy about production cuts and want an extension. It's tariff fears versus rising demand and falling supply for oil and it seems that supply and demand have the edge right now.
Well, if you thought that OPEC production cuts were difficult to put in place, it may be even harder to work out of them. The extremely successful OPEC cuts, along with their co-conspirator Russia, will at some point be scaled back but raising oil production may not be as easy as it seems.
The U.S. dollar ended up mixed against major pairs after the release of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls (NFP) report for February and news of a potential meet up between North Korea and American leaders. The NFP was a mixed bag with a monster 313,000 jobs gain but underperforming wage growth at 0.1%.
Too much, too soon. The 36% increase in crude oil prices since August is likely to stimulate a strong production response, with a typical lag, sufficient to keep oil inventories elevated above the five-year average for all of 2018, despite the extension of OPEC’s production cut to the end of the year. It may even undermine OPEC compliance and negatively impact oil demand.