Come join the bull oil party. The room was empty a few years ago but now everybody is jumping on the dance floor. Crude oil is a boom and bust market. Two years ago, we went bust and since then we are in a boom shakalaka. Oil prices closed steady after giving up gains as the June option expiration pressured prices, only to have them stay strong based on the crude realities of strong global demand and tightening supply.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), or as I call them the “demand downers,” once again are raising concerns about global oil demand. The agency that has consistently underestimated global oil demand is once again trying to keep their weak demand illusions in the spotlight. A few years ago, it was because that despite the low price, demand would be bad despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Looking for fear in the oil market? Look no further than the Brent versus West Texas Intermediate oil spread that blew out to the highest level all year and the highest since 2015, with Brent holding a $7.30 per barrel premium currently above WTI. European and Asian buyers of Brent are pricing in the risks and realities of the fallout from sanctions on Iran to increased tensions in the Gaza strip as well as the inability of traditional Brent oil producers to fill that void.
Crude oil prices are pulling back from three-and-a-half-year highs after a leap in the U.S. oil rig count and a relatively calm weekend when it came to geopolitical tensions. Drillers added 10 oil rigs and 3 gas rigs bringing the total oil rig count to 844, the highest level since March 2015, according to Baker Hughes.
Global equity markets have attempted to trade cautiously higher at the end of the week, as a combination of soft U.S. inflation figures, stronger commodity prices and slightly easing geopolitical tensions seems to have had a small impact on risk sentiment.
Crude oil prices are hovering just below a three-year high as many are still shocked that oil prices are again trading this high. Oil prices started out strong on Iranian-Israeli war tensions but pulled back after data from Genscape put crude storage at Cushing, Okla., at 39.56 million barrels as of Tuesday, up 479,644 barrels from Friday.
Crude prices are going nuclear as President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iranian nuclear accord creating a new risk dynamic for global oil markets. The decision by president Trump to pull the plug on what he said was a horrible deal comes as global oil demand is rising and the lack of investment in the oil patch is making it difficult for global oil production to keep pace with demand.
Crude oil prices surged closing at above $70 a barrel for the first time in three-and-a-half years, only to have a nuclear meltdown in aftermarket trading. WTI further set a record 2.7 million contracts of open interest but fell hard after President Donald Trump tweeted that he would announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, 2 p.m. Eastern.
Crude oil prices face a day of reckoning as the United States decides whether it will remain in the Iranian nuclear accord, as well as the realization is that due to underinvestment in oil, it might be difficult to replace Iranian oil if it is taken off the market.