For another week, oil seems to be the most volatile and interesting commodity to watch. In this segment we’ll look at some of the major factors affecting the commodity price as a whole.
Brent price closed yesterday at $62.90 down from 64.65 last week, which was the highest level reached since June 2015.
Efforts by OPEC and Russia to cut output by the ongoing policy, which is already expected to extend throughout the first quarter of next year as well, have curbed excess supply in an effort to prop up the commodity price and seek and end to the global supply glut which has sent prices plummeting over the past two years.
OPEC has also continually revised its global demand outlook upward since July, noting an expected increase to 33.42m barrels next year. OPEC and other producers will meet again on the 30th of November in Vienna and are expected to agree to a further extension of production possibly for another 9 months up until the end of 2018.
The recent wave of arrests in Saudi Arabia has been touted as a corruption purge. However, seeing as this is also an empowering move for Mohammed bin Salman who has been an outspoken supporter of OPEC’s production cuts past 2018, it further increases the chance of these cuts being extended further.
However, these efforts are being undermined by a 12-month continual increase in US shale oil which has been triggered by the increased price. US Shale production is set to further increase in December by approx. 80,000 barrels, with the US rig number increasing quickly during the past months.
Reports have been actually confirming another nine rigs added during the past days, which brings up the total number up to 738 rigs, an increase in excess of 60% compared to twelve months back.
While global stocks are falling for the first time since 2013, we won’t be surprised to see the increase in US and other supplies halting this decline within next year and together also halt the upward path the price of the commodity has followed in the past months.
One of the wild cards to keep an eye on is Venezuela which has been facing various issues in repaying its massive debts. Following a $1.1bn payment on state oil company PDVSA’s issued bond last week, President Nicolas Maduro announced that this would be the final time it paid its creditors fully and that his intent is to seek a restructuring regarding future debt payments, which is putting Venezuela’s ability to pay its debts altogether into question.
Formally defaulting, could quite conceivably put further stress on the country’s oil output and therefore on the commodity price. Venezuela’s oil production has already been under considerable pressure in the past year, with October marking its lowest production in 28 years, at 1,863m barrels per day.
The aforementioned issues place oil prices in a tenuous, unstable situation. With caution regarding the rising US production, which could possibly result in a price correction, expectations for next year should perhaps be less bullish than what they currently are.
Source: Intermodal Weekly Market Report [W45] / By Linos Kogevinas, Commercial Executive – Cotzias Intermodal Shipping