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Asia Open | Oil: Prices saved from the depths of despair as global glut appears in better shape

Market Analysis / 2 Min Read
Stephen Innes / 13 May 2020

Scraping the Barrel

Oil prices punched their ticket higher out of the gates this morning on the global grand reopenings and faster than expected supply curtailments.

While price action is bound to be choppy as economies try to move out of lockdowns, it’s probably safe to say that traders have planked a base on oil prices after WTI moved + 5.1% on Friday, ripping 25% higher on the week. They notched their first back-to-back weekly gain since February amid optimism surrounded by global production cuts that are eroding the massive supply glut.

Oil fundamentals are showings signs of improvement by the week, likely accelerated by the recent historic collapse in prices which is causing a massive reduction in US oil production. The number of US rigs drilling for oil fell to a level not seen since before the shale-oil revolution kicked off at the beginning of the last decade. This is excellent for oil bulls, but not for the industry or the US economy as a whole.

Supplies have started to decline quickly and, with many countries in the West attempting to reopen their economies, it should bring supply and demand equilibrium into more standard terms. But, even now, some traders are bullishly positioning for the ultimate inflection point: a more rapid reduction in US inventories and even a possible deficit in Q2 – a concept that was unfathomable only a few weeks ago.

With oil prices rebalancing at a much faster pace than expected, as evidenced by price action, it suggests markets are quickly moving from a relief rally to cyclical tightening, setting the stage for structural repricing higher as storage capacity issues are getting relegated to a rear window concern.

With peak supply a distant memory, US transportation demand set to surge post lockdown and supply and demand factors shifting favorably for oil prices in opposite directions, the laws of economics suggest prices have nowhere else to go but higher.

The information is not to be construed as a recommendation; or an offer to buy or sell; or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any security, financial product, or instrument; or to participate in any trading strategy. Readers should seek their own advice. Reproduction or redistribution of this information is not permitted.

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