A Balancing Act For Oil

As we come to the end of another trading year, oil is now balanced at a delicate tipping point, both fundamentally and also technically in what has been a turbulent few days. Last week’s dramatic news was the decision by Qatar to leave OPEC a move which surprised many, and followed the Vienna meeting where members agreed to supply cuts designed to remove 1.2 million barrels a day from the market, despite US president Trump calling for oil supply to be maintained at the current levels. News of the cuts saw oil prices rally, but which have since fallen back, and once again it is OPEC who are attempting to juggle the demands of member states against the reletless growth of the alternate energy providers whose market share increases monthly. Qatar was the first crack to appear in OPEC a move which surprised and perceived as politically motivated, but given the region is now the largest LNG provider in the world, more reflective of the fact that OPEC is perhaps no longer so relevant to the country.

From a technical perspective, the recent rout in oil is now finding some serious potential support developing in the $50 per barrel area, with the volume point of control now anchored just below $52 per barrel as volume continues to build as the extended congestion phase continues in this area. Note the attempts to rally over the last two weeks, with resistance now firmly in place in the $54 per barrel region and denoted with the red dotted line. Below sits some solid support which continues to provide a platform and denoted with the blue dashed line on the acumulation and distribution indicator. The $50 – $54 per barrel area is now key and defines the ceiling and floor of the current price channel. The key for OPEC now is whether the agreed cuts in supply will have the required effect. The initial response was relatively weak with oil failing to breach the $54 per barrel area. The only crumb of comfort could ironically come from the US itself, should the US dollar reverse into a bearish trend, and for that we and OPEC must wait for the Fed next week.

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