Oil prices have risen by 128% from it’s April low as it has steadied above $40 a barrel since mid- June. At the same time, fluctuating demand and rising supply present a bottleneck for those who are expecting oil prices to keep climbing. Reduction of the size of output cuts to 7.7million barrels a day from August, by the group of 23 oil-producing countries which is led by Saudi Arabia and Russia would add about 2 million barrels to the daily oil production levels. Most of the extra OPEC+ crude would not reach the global market. These extra cuts would be used to service internal demand for electricity to run air conditioners as a result of the scorching temperatures across the Arabian Peninsula. Fewer citizens have been travelling to Europe to avoid the scorching temperatures.
Rising supply is not the only thing that will put pressure on crude prices. The anticipation for recovery in demand for oil is also running into problems. At a period when crude prices were at the lowest point in April, China made a record purchasing splurge and subsequently, China’s oil buying decreased. The amount of oil kept in Shandong province haulers and refineries has risen by 28% since mid-May and close to hitting a five-month high. However, there is still an enormous pile-up of vessels that are waiting off the seashores to offload their freights. Some of them have been there for two months.
Temporarily, China’s independent refineries started to decrease their processing rate from record levels in mid-June and massive glut across the country may reduce its demand for gasoline and oil by almost 5%, whilst the decline should be temporary.
Vacation States, like Florida and California, are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, with a record number of daily infections and increased death tolls. This has caused travel restrictions and also, ruining demand for both gasoline and jet fuel. The recovery in US gasoline demand stalled shortly after the driving summer season got underway. Crude is being squeezed between rising supply and a stagnating demand recovery, which is going to make the oil bulls uncomfortable. It is plausible supply could overload storage facilities, pipelines and refineries, creating little room for domestic production of oil.
In the past few months, Saudi Arabia, Russia and most OPEC members complied to slashing production. On the other hand, American oil companies are decommissioning rigs and shutting Wells. These developments helped push oil prices remarkably. Oil prices may fall again if there is another surge in Coronavirus cases and death as governments begin allowing businesses to reopen and people might see that as carte blanche to move about more freely.
The US oil companies have started producing oil from the wells they abandoned when the prices sank, after the restoration of wells that were shut earlier this year. There are chances that prices could also fall when haulers filled with more than 50million barrels of crude oil from Saudi Arabia, reach the US in July ending. US oil companies have increased production by 1.2million barrels a day in the past six weeks. Output went as low as 9.7million barrels a day in the second week of June but has risen to 10.9million barrels a day as activity begin to recuperate in the big shale fields on Texas. US production will now balance at about 11million barrels a day through to the end of 2020 which is well below the 13million barrels a day in March before the Saudi-Russian price war and Coronavirus pandemic devastated the US oil prices.
Gold’s appeal up thanks to a weaker U.S dollar
More COVID-19 relief programs pushed the yellow metal’s appeal up as an inflation hedge.
Gold was up at Wednesday’s trading session, thanks to a weaker dollar coupled with statements from Janet Yellen, the incoming Secretary for the U.S Treasury, calling for more COVID-19 relief programs; these helped to push the yellow metal’s appeal up as an inflation hedge.
What you should know: At press time, Gold futures were up 0.51% at $1,849.60/ounce.
- The Secretary of the Treasury nominee made key statements during her Senate confirmation hearing held yesterday, where she discussed the economic gains of a large stimulus package that would far outweigh the risk of a higher debt burden.
- The greenback dropped for the third consecutive trading session after Janet Yellen said in her hearing that tax cuts enacted in 2017 for large companies should be reversed.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, in a note to Nairametrics, spoke on the odds that the precious metal currently has amid a relatively strong greenback.
“Maximum stimulus overdrive, favorable to bullion turnaround in taper talk and slightly weaker dollar paint an encouraging backdrop for gold prices provided real rates oblige.
“Gold has been facing headwinds from a strong US dollar and higher real rates so far this year. The market is trying to hold the yellow metal above crucial support levels, which is encouraging,” Innes stated.
What to expect: However so far, gold has struggled to recover convincingly past the $1850 psychological level, and the 50dma around $1960 remains the ultimate target Q1 for gold bulls.
Oil prices rally high on incoming COVID-19 relief program
Brent oil futures gained 0.68% to trade at $56.28 a barrel adding to yesterday’s 2.1% gain.
Oil prices were all fired up at mid-week trading session in London.
Holding on to their previous gains on reports that the incoming Joe Biden administration will offer more quantitative easing programs, boosted hopes for energy demand
What you should know: At press time, Brent oil futures gained 0.68% to trade at $56.28 a barrel adding to yesterday’s 2.1% gain. West Texas Intermediate futures rallied by 0.79% to trade at $53.40 a barrel, building on a 1.2% rise seen at the last trading session.
- Both major oil benchmarks stayed above the $50 mark.
- The Treasury Secretary nominee, Janet Yellen advised the U.S lawmakers in acting fast on COVID-19 support packages during her Senate confirmation hearing held yesterday.
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi in a note to Nairametrics gave valuable insights on the mindset of energy traders in regards to Saudi’s recent cut and massive stimulus package on its way to financial markets stating;
“The energy markets are racing higher out of the gates in Asia aided by a lower dollar and hopes of a sizeable economic stimulus package from the Biden administration.
“Energy traders are packing in a chunky stimulus-response that might matter to investors from both a commodity and currency perspective where the US dollar could weaken to oil prices benefit since crude is priced in US dollars.
“The most favorable elixir of US stimulus and the imminent Saudi production cut bolstering efforts of OPEC+ to keep supply well below demand this year continue to help price action.”
What to expect: Ahead of presidential inauguration day, Oil traders offer up a Biden policy seal of approval on the agenda’s sequencing with vaccinations plus stimulus now and taxes later, to drive risk through the first half of 2021.
Oil traders weigh if COVID-19 support programs will buoy economic growth
Brent oil crude futures gained 0.40% to trade at $54.95 while WTI futures were dropped 0.23% to trade at $52.30 a barrel.
Oil prices were mixed at the second trading session of the week. Oil traders are cautiously optimistic that further COVID-19 stimulus programs will buoy economic growth against the increasing COVID-19-induced lockdowns sighted in key international markets.
What you should know
At press time, Brent oil crude futures gained 0.40% to trade at $54.95, while West Texas Intermediate futures dropped by 0.23% to trade at $52.30 a barrel. There was no oil settlement transaction on Monday at the world’s largest economy, due to public holiday.
- Both global oil benchmarks remained above the $50 mark.
- In addition, oil traders are treading cautiously on reports that the third-largest crude oil importer, India, recorded poor fuel sales in 2020, as well as rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Japan and China.
What they are saying
Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at Axi, in a note to Nairametrics, dropped valuable points as regards macros weighing the black liquid hydrocarbon, taking to account the U.S dollar recorded losses at Tuesday trading session, thereby arbitrarily supporting crude oil prices.
- “Many COVID-19 jitters out here, but oil prices continue to hold and looks to nudge higher eyeing support from the weaker US dollar as oil sensitive currencies are showing the way. The US data has been less encouraging lately. However, yesterday’s Q4 China GDP data provided a festive reminder that China’s economy continues to fire on all cylinders and brought with it dip-buying support.
- “Overall, the policy mixes between OPEC+ current supply discipline coalescing with the Biden’s administration’s overarching focus on public health and economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggest oil prices can go much higher.”
What to expect
Oil traders anticipate that oil prices will stabilize near the current level, as progress is made on the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. As the black liquid hydrocarbon moves closer on the path to a typical demand environment, oil prices will then soar.