The Trump “Twitter Effect” On Oil Prices

Yesterday, oil prices marked their sharpest one-day decline since February, following the markets as a whole.

By 2:30 P.M. Eastern, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) had dropped 3% for the day, while Brent was down 2.3%.

Before Monday’s drop, both WTI and Brent were in the middle of an impressive rally – WTI had been up 6.5% for the month as of Thursday, while Brent had been up an even heftier 8.6% for the same period

And when we look at oil prices for the year, both are now at the pricing ranges I had predicted for the end of June.

So a pullback was certainly in order.

Yet, that’s not what happened yesterday.

None of the factors normally associated with a profit-taking environment – a spike in U.S. production, s decline in demand, a rise in surplus stock, or a significant rise in the value of the dollar – was present.

This was not a market-driven excuse for a selloff.

This one came directly from the White House.

Trump’s Tweets Tears the Markets

The markets tanked on Monday with all indices declining over 2%.

Leading the move down was Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the target of a Presidential twitter storm, which was down nearly 11% since the open.

As the latest personal controversy President Donald Trump has engineered with a critic – this one with Amazon CEO (and owner of the Washington Post) Jeff Bezos – attests, these attacks have broader consequences.

Trump’s argument that Amazon is cheating the Postal Service and the U.S. Treasury out of “billions” in revenue is neither accurate or a matter susceptible to executive action.

That differentiates the issue from tariffs, where the President does have a recourse to direct action from the Oval Office.

Nonetheless, both moves have had a negative impact on markets.

Traders now have to factor in the prospect of an escalating, tariff-fueled trade war on the one hand and attacks against high-profile stocks on the other.

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