Oil is slowly recovering from a major sell-off on the last day of autumn. Taking advantage of the thin market after Thanksgiving, speculators decided to get rid of their long positions ahead of the December OPEC+ meeting. The simplest thing that the cartel and Russia can do is to prolong the agreement to reduce production by several months after March 2020. However, how will the market react to this? Isn’t it better to avoid a massive sell-off before the results of the meeting are known?
If speculators sold oil at the November 29 auction, before that, on the contrary, they were actively building up long positions. By the end of the week, November 26, WTI net-longs increased by 15%, gross longs increased by 12%, while shorts fell by 14%. Approximately the same numbers could be seen on Brent.
Brent Speculative Dynamics
It is peculiar that black gold was not moving in unison with US stocks at the turn of autumn and winter. The latter were marked by a serious collapse after the White House introduced duties on imports of steel and aluminum from Brazil and Argentina, while oil grew in response to rumors of Saudi Arabia’s desire to expand production cuts from 1.2 million bpd to 1.6 million bpd, at least until June 2020. Riyadh needs to carry out an initial public offering of shares in the state-owned company Aramco, the scale of which is estimated at approximately $25 billion. If Brent is listed below $60 per barrel, it is unlikely that buyers will grab paper of the oil company like hotcakes.
However, according to Goldman Sachs, even if OPEC+ expands its obligations by 400 thousand bpd by the end of June 2020, this is unlikely to lead to a serious increase in prices. The bank predicts that North Sea-grade quotes will dangle around $60 per barrel for most of next year.
Oil support is provided by the first growth above the critical level of 50 in business activity in China’s manufacturing sector since April. China is the largest consumer of black gold in the world, and an increase in demand of 64 thousand bpd in the third quarter is good news for Brent bulls and WTI. Moreover, the IEA predicts that the figure will reach a record high of 13.6 million bpd in 2020. I have no doubt that this will be so if the trade war between Washington and Beijing does not become history. Otherwise, weak global demand will continue to put downward pressure on black gold prices.
At the same time, the growth of shale production in the United States significantly affects the market balance. In September, the United States closed a full month as a net exporter of black gold for the first time since 1940. Its deliveries abroad exceeded imports by 89 thousand bpd. It is Interesting that the last time the value of net imports exceeded 12 million was ten years ago.
Technically, without leaving Brent quotes beyond the downward trading channel, the implementation of the Double Bottom pattern can be forgotten. On the contrary, a breakthrough of support at $56 per barrel, which corresponds to the lower boundary of the triangle, the risks of a downward trend recovery will increase.