Crude oil adjusting to weakening fundamentals

Commodities 5 minutes to read

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  Crude oil has traded lower during the past week with the correction in stocks and a stronger dollar driving an overdue realignment between the price and weakening fundamentals. The recovery in global fuel demand has stalled as a second virus wave continues to spread, especially in Europe and Asia, thereby raising doubts about the demand outlook at a time where additional barrels from OPEC+ have started to reach the market.


What is our trading focus?

OILUKNOV20 – Brent Crude Oil (November)
OILUSOCT20 – WTI Crude Oil (October)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Crude oil remains under pressure from weaker fundamentals as the global energy demand recovery shows sign of stalling. Many countries around the world, especially in Europe and Asia are now in the midst of a second coronavirus wave. As a result the recovery in fuel demand has stalled with work-from-home and lack of leisure travel both signs that it will take longer than anticipated to get back to pre-virus levels of energy demand.

Data from the physical markets such as weaker time spreads as the spot price weakens faster than deferred months, weak refinery margins primarily due to an overhang of unwanted diesel and jet fuel, rising demand for tankers towards floating storage trades and reduced demand from China, the worlds biggest buyer, have for the past month increasingly been highlighting the risk of correction.

What it took was a deterioration in the overall risk appetite as seen through the correction in US (tech) stocks and the dollar being bought. In Brent crude oil, the break of the uptrend from June was the technical trigger which finally kicked of a move to bring price and fundamentals more in line.

We do not believe that we will see a new dramatic sell-off in crude oil but have to accept that the coronavirus and doubts about the timing of a vaccine may continue to delay until next year, the recovery back towards $50/b on Brent crude oil. The slow(ing) recovery in demand may challenge the unity of the OPEC+ group which in hindsight increased production before demand had recovered enough to absorb the additional barrels.

Brent has found support at its 100-day moving average at $39.50/b but with speculators only just having started to reduce bullish bets, the correction may take it down to towards $36.50/b before support can be established. The general level of risk appetite seen through stock market developments and the movement of the dollar will continue be key sources of inspiration for traders.

Fundamental oil market guidance will be provided by OPEC and the International Energy Agency when they publish their monthly oil market reports on September 14 and 15 respectively. The EIA released its Short Term Energy Outlook yesterday and while saying that US oil production will shrink by 860k b/d in 2020, they also highlighted the incredible difficulty in providing forward guidance given the continued uncertainty about the demand outlook.

Source: Saxo Group

Delayed by a day due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, the Energy Information Administration will publish its “Weekly Petroleum Status Report” at 15:00 GMT. The report covering the week to September 4 will be less distorted than recent updates as the impact on production, refinery activity and trade from Hurricane Laura continues to fade.

Yesterday’s sharp rebound in crude oil was halted after the American Petroleum Institute said that US crude stocks rose by 3 million barrels last week. If confirmed by the EIA it will be the first rise in seven weeks. Occurring right at the end of the summer driving season may raise concerns about a renewed stock pile build on weaker than normal consumption due to Covid-19 and reduced demand from refineries entering maintenance.

As per usual I will publish the result of the report on my Twitter handle @Ole_S_Hansen

Disclaimer

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website is not intended to and does not change or expand on this. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
- Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (https://www.home.saxo/legal/niird/notification)
- Full disclaimer (https://www.home.saxo/en-hk/legal/disclaimer/saxo-disclaimer)

Saxo Capital Markets HK is a company authorised and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. Saxo Capital Markets HK Limited holds a Type 1 Regulated Activity (Dealing in securities); Type 2 Regulated Activity (Dealing in Futures Contract) and Type 3 Regulated Activity (Leveraged foreign exchange trading) licenses (CE No. AVD061). Registered address: 19th Floor, Shanghai Commercial Bank Tower, 12 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

By clicking on certain links on this site, you are aware and agree to leave the website of Saxo Capital Markets, proceed on to the linked site managed by Saxo Group and where you will be subject to the terms of that linked site.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Please note that the information on this site and any product and services we offer are not targeted at investors residing in the United States and Japan, and are not intended for distribution to, or use by any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation. Please click here to view our full disclaimer.