Crude oil closed back above $70 a barrel as storms, both real and politically, started to develop. Prices were on the rise after U.S. oil supply fell 2.6 million barrels this week, which raised even more concerns about the market’s ability to replace plunging Venezuelan oil production and Iranian exports that reportedly already are facing falling oil supply. Now, you get Mother Nature involved with more storm activity brewing out in the Atlantic, and you have a very bullish outlook.
Markets traditionally kick back into high gear after Labor Day, but one should not underestimate this last week of August. Trade talks remain at the forefront and last week’s newest round between the United States and China failed to yield true substance. However, the purpose was to delay the imminence of the third wave of tariffs in which the White House would impose $200 billion on Chinese goods; this, in our opinion, would be the official start of a trade war.
Crude oil is being driven by more plotlines than an afternoon soap opera. With upcoming sanctions on Iran, the Fed on pace for gradual interest rate increases, strikes in the North Sea and a big drop in the U.S. oil rig count (which fell by 9 rigs, the biggest drop since May of 201), there is enough drama for both the bulls and the bears.
China is buying our oil and that could be Iran’s worst nightmare. It seems that the Chinese trade talks went nowhere, but despite that fact, China’s demand for U.S. crude oil might rise anyway. According to Reuters “China’s Unipec will resume purchases of U.S. crude oil in October after a two-month halt due to the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.”
We’ve reached the stretch run for the dog days of August. Once again there is a mixed market. Just an hour into the new week the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 109 points and the Nasdaq is down about 10.
The dog days of August that have set in on the moves in the commodities have been exaggerated. While crude oil holds the 200-day moving average, after a major seasonal sell-off, the concerns about a serious demand slowdown are most likely overblown. Turkey, of course, is a major oil producer and Consumer. NOT! The fears of contagion, steaming from the stepped upped pressure from the Trump Administration, has been overdone. We are in the dog days, and oil bears have begun licking their chops, mistaking seasonal weakness for a major bear turn in the market.