The bullish spirit that gripped oil traders as industry giants from Saudi Arabia to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. declared the supply glut over is rapidly ebbing away.
Oil is poised for a drop of 20 percent since early June, meeting the definition of a bear market. While excess crude production is abating, inventories around the world are brimming, especially for gasoline, and a revival in U.S. drilling threatens to swell supplies further. As the output disruptions that cleared some of the surplus earlier this year begin to be resolved, crude could again slump toward $30 a barrel, Morgan Stanley predicts.
“The tables are turning on the bulls, who were prematurely constructive on oil prices on the basis the re-balancing of the oil market was a done deal,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London. “It’s probably going to take a little longer than they expected.”
Oil almost doubled in New York between February and June as big names from Goldman and the International Energy Agency to new Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said declining U.S. oil production and disruptions from Nigeria to Canada were finally ending years of oversupply. Prices are set for their biggest monthly loss in a year amid a growing recognition the surplus will take time to clear.
“There’s lots of crude and refined products around,” said David Fransen, Geneva-based head of Vitol SA, the biggest independent oil trader. “Demand growth has faltered a bit.”
The stockpiles of crude and refined oil that built up in industrialized nations during the years of oversupply remain formidable, standing at a record of more than 3 billion barrels, according to the Paris-based IEA. Traders struggling to sell cargoes are hoarding the most barrels on board tankers at sea since the end of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the agency estimates.
In some countries the glut seems to be getting bigger, with weekly U.S. government data on Wednesday showing a surprise inventory increase in the world’s biggest oil consumer at at time when summer driving demand should deplete stockpiles.
The latest challenge for the market is “a shift in the surplus from crude to products,” Jeff Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs in New York, said in a Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday. Refiners churned out gasoline earlier in the year to take advantage of cheap crude, and stockpiles of the motor fuel are now at the highest for the time of year in at least 20 years, EIA data show.
The next move lower could come as crude production ramps back up, said Adam Longson, an analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York. Canadian oil-sands producers have restored what was halted in May when wildfires menaced more than 1 million barrels of daily output. Nigeria has partially recovered after militant attacks curbed production to a three-decade low, according to the IEA.
In the U.S., production declines have leveled off over the past three weeks, EIA data shows. The weekly count of active oil rigs published every Friday by Baker Hughes Inc. has recorded its longest run of increases since August.
“Did the glut disappear in the first place?” asked Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt. “It was masked for a while by the shortfalls in Nigeria and Canada, but it did not disappear.”
Still, banks from Citigroup Inc. to Barclays Plc and Societe Generale SA are confident the overall re-balancing of the market remains on track, despite the current price retreat, and that markets will recover by the end of year. The latest sell-off reflects the strength of the dollar, which curbs investors’ appetite for commodities, rather than any worsening of supply-demand fundamentals, according to Goldman Sachs.
“I would call it a bump on the road towards a looming rebalancing,” said Miswin Mahesh, an analyst at Barclays in London. “The supply side is adjusting sharply and we will see it slow down a lot faster than demand from the fourth quarter onwards. The low price is creating a one-two punch moment for the supply side, taking off both current and future supplies.”
The recovery will take prices up to $50 a barrel by the end of the year, according to Barclays and Commerzbank. In the meantime however, sentiment has soured so much that further losses to $40 are inevitable, Commerzbank’s Weinberg said. West Texas Intermediate crude futures lost as much as 1.4 percent to $40.57 a barrel on Friday.
“The oversupply will diminish,” Weinberg said. “But the market is deaf in one ear right now. Sentiment was too pessimistic at the beginning of the year, extremely bullish in June, and now back again to pessimism.”
Oil Prices Hold Steady Ahead of Crucial OPEC+ Meeting Amidst Fed Rate Hike Signals
Oil prices maintained their significant gains as traders anticipate the outcome of a crucial OPEC+ meeting on supply while considering signals from the Federal Reserve regarding interest rate policies.
Global benchmark Brent hovered below $82 a barrel, having surged over 2% on Tuesday, while West Texas Intermediate traded under $77.
The OPEC+ meeting, scheduled for Thursday to set policies for 2024, is currently grappling with a dispute over output quotas for some African members.
The recent rise in crude prices is underpinned by a weakening dollar, with a Bloomberg gauge of the US currency reaching its lowest level since August.
Federal Reserve policymakers, including Governor Christopher Waller, have hinted at an impending pause in the series of rate hikes, contributing to the bullish sentiment in oil markets.
A softer dollar enhances the appeal of commodities for international buyers.
Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist for IG Asia Pte in Singapore, commented on the interplay of factors, stating, “The US dollar was dragged lower on a build-up in dovish expectations, which was very much cheered on by oil prices.”
However, concerns persist about OPEC+’s ability to address the challenges in the oil market effectively.
Despite the recent gains, oil is on track for a consecutive monthly decline due to increased supply from non-OPEC countries, intensifying pressure on the cartel and its allies to consider more significant output cuts.
The International Energy Agency’s earlier assessment indicated a potential return to a global crude surplus in the coming year.
In the US, the American Petroleum Institute reported a 817,000-barrel decline in nationwide inventories last week, potentially marking the first drop in six weeks, pending confirmation from government data.
This development may add support to oil prices and impact the ongoing dynamics in the energy market.
Oil Prices Stabilize as OPEC+ Weighs Deeper Output Cuts Amid Global Supply Concerns
Market Evaluates OPEC+ Decision Amidst Bearish Sentiment and Global Supply Worries
A Relaxed Start to the Week But Much More to Come, OPEC+ Eyed
By Craig Erlam, Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA, OANDA
It’s been quite a calm start to the week which isn’t entirely surprising given the lack of events on the calendar today. That said, things are expected to pick up with the rest of the week serving up some big economic releases and a hugely important OPEC+ meeting.
All data now, particularly that of the US, is being looked at through the prism of what it will mean for the final central bank meeting of the year and the new projections it’ll be accompanied by.
Since the last meeting, the data has been encouraging and we’ll get another batch before the Fed meets on 13 December. This week we’ll get the October PCE inflation data – the Fed’s preferred measure – as well as third quarter GDP, ISM manufacturing and jobless claims.
Outside of the US, we’ll get flash HICP inflation data for the eurozone, PMIs from China, CPI figures for Australia and a rate decision from the RBNZ. On top of all that, there’s a plethora of central bank speakers making appearances which will keep us on our toes.
BoE Governor Bailey got the week off to a start on that front, pushing back against expectations for rate cuts from Q2, claiming he doesn’t expect any for the “foreseeable future”. A vague commitment as ever but all we can expect from policymakers for now. There’s still a way to go and as Bailey highlighted, getting from peak to now is likely to be much easier than from here to 2%.
Oil choppy ahead of Thursday’s OPEC+ meeting
Arguably, the OPEC+ meeting will be the week’s most impactful event. Not just because any decision could have direct consequences for price and therefore inflation but also due to the meeting already being pushed back by four days, so there’s clearly some disagreement within the alliance.
The group has always found a way to get an agreement over the line before, even if that means the biggest producers taking on more of the additional commitments so it’s probably safe to say something similar will be achieved this week. But the question is how far they’ll push it, given the recent trend in oil prices and increasing concerns around global growth next year.
Gold eyeing record highs?
Gold has got the week off to a strong start, up around half a percent and hitting a six-month high. It just about managed to end last week above the psychologically challenging $2,000 level – where it’s repeatedly been pushed back from over the last month – and it seems that has propelled it on today.
We’re still seeing some push back though but this break has been backed by softer US data in recent weeks and less hawkish commentary from the Fed. That may be the difference this time around and enable it to look up towards record highs, only a few percent above where it currently finds itself.
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