Author Archives: Tim Knight

Crude Oil About to Hit a Slippery Spot?

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Contributed by Rohit Goel 

Crude Oil prices have been on a wild ride over the last couple of years, dropping from $100+ in late-2014 to $26 in early-2016, then miraculously doubling over the next few months. As the Energy Information Administration (EIA) explains, there are several factors influencing oil markets, such as production, economic growth, geopolitical and economic events, supply disruptions, speculator and money manager positioning etc. In addition, US Dollar also has a significant inverse relationship to oil prices.

However, the major reason for oil’s plunge since late-2014 was Saudi Arabia blocking an OPEC output cut in November 2014, with the intent of pushing oil prices lower, inflicting serious pain on the US shale oil industry (which needs high oil prices to break even) and increasing their own market share – so essentially, increased supply. The best gauge of how this increased supply has caused an imbalance in the global oil market is the EIA inventory report, which is released every Wednesday morning and has a big impact on oil prices. So let’s compare the price of WTI with the EIA inventory, starting in Jan 2013 when the market was in a steady state and remained so for the next year and a half (the period highlighted in yellow denotes the peak summer driving season – more on this later):

(Note from Tim: there appeared at this point a very large table, which I’m going to leave out, since the information is expressed in graph form anyway). (more…)