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.
It’s "sunshine on the shoulder" season as U.S. refineries slow runs to 87.8% of capacity, running just 15.9 million barrels, the lowest level of the year as seasonal maintenance flips into high gear. The trade seemed disappointed that the overall 3-million-barrel build in crude oil supply was higher than expected. That is what should you expect when seasonal maintenance is happening.
Ten years ago, the market was fretting, everyone was worried about "peak oil,” and now the focus is on peak demand. Instead of the world on a collision course of fighting over the last drop of oil, now it seems that we have turned the world upside down and now we are seeing predictions that oil demand will peak. The latest peak demand forecast comes from BP, which is predicting that the demand for oil will peak before 2040.
Despite the recent correction in crude oil, the Saudis say they are all in when it comes to cutting production. Despite the recent stock-market inspired shake out and the surge in shale oil output, the truth is that the global oil market is going through its most significant tightening cycle in during a decade. The Saudis are not going to let a little stock market correction and shale surge stop them from their goal of tightening the global oil market place.
Crude oil hedge funds continue to run for the exits and are in part responsible for yesterday’s late-day swoon. Yet, despite market turmoil, the supply versus demand fundamentals for oil continue to be very bullish. Even the International Energy Agency (IEA), that hates to say anything bullish about oil, is acknowledging that despite their prior doubts that OPEC and their Non-OPEC coconspirators have succeeded in removing the global oil glut.