While the market digests the current overhang of supply and while the contango is being maintained, crude oil is unlikely to find a strong bid. However, with US sanctions against Iran looming we should already begin to see a drop in Iranian exports next month. By this time we doubt that selling the market would be the best choice given the risk of renewed tightness in supply. Estimates for how much Iran’s production could be impacted vary, but the figure is likely to be somewhere in the 500,000 to 1 million barrels/day bracket.
We maintain the view, as highlighted in our recently published Q3 Quarterly Outlook, that Brent crude oil is likely to settle into a low 70s to low 80s range for now. The downside looks protected by the continued risk to supplies despite increased production from some Opec members and Russia. To the upside $80/b has already proved a tough nut to crack and the "trade war leading to lower growth narrative" should continue to offer limited buying appetite above this level.
We should also not ignore additional political initiatives being implemented to prevent the market from rallying. According to recent polls, President Trump has a fight on his hands ahead of the November midterm election. Following the sharp trade tariffs related sell-off in key crops such as soybeans and corn, which has hurt both his base and swing voters, the last thing he needs is a renewed spike in US gasoline prices. On that basis a US political decision to release crude oil from its strategic petroleum reserves cannot be ruled out.
Using Fibonacci to gauge how far the current recovery can take the price we find resistance at $74.37/b. While the mentioned overhang of supply is being digested the upside is likely to be limited to somewhere between $75.35 and $76.33/b.