The Headwinds To Higher Oil Prices

In late 2016, OPEC, along with the Russian’s and other countries, agreed to cut production in order to try and “balance” the supply/demand imbalance that drove oil prices to the low $30’s at the nadir of the oil price crash.

As Brian Noble noted recently:

“In the past couple of weeks, crude oil futures really did a round trip. First, they took a beating. WTI futures fell on May 4th to $45.52 per barrel, coming down from an April peak of $53.40, hitting the lowest point since the deal between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers was signed last November. Since then, WTI has rallied up above $49 on as confidence grows over an OPEC cut. So is this more noise or a portent of things to come?”

With OPEC meeting soon to discuss the extension of oil production cuts, the question is whether such actions have made any headway in reducing the current imbalances between supply and demand? This is an important consideration if we are going to see sustainably higher prices in “black gold.” 

With respect to the oil cuts, the current cut is the 4th by OPEC since the turn of the century. These cuts in production did not last long, generally speaking, but tend to occur at price peaks, rather than price bottoms, as shown below.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Brian hits on this exact point.

“Despite the occasional rally, it’s hard to see that the outlook for oil is encouraging on both fundamental and technical levels. The charts look to be screaming double top for WTI, while the fundamentals seem to be saying Economics 101: too much supply, too little demand. The parallel with 2014 is there if you want to see it.”

Brian is correct. The current levels of supply potentially creates a longer-term issue for prices globally particularly in the face of weaker global demand due to demographics, energy efficiencies, and debt.

Many point to the 2008 commodity crash as THE example as to why oil prices are destined to rise in the near term. The clear issue remains supply as it relates to the price of any commodity. With drilling in the Permian Basin expanding currently, any “cuts” by OPEC have already been offset by increased domestic production. Furthermore, any rise in oil prices towards $55/bbl will likely make the OPEC “cuts” very short-lived. 

(Click on image to enlarge)

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Disclosure: The information contained in this article should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Streettalk Advisors, LLC expressly disclaims all liability in ...

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