The rout in crude oil accelerated yesterday when Opec's Monthly Oil Market Report
confirmed what bulls increasingly had come to fear. Surging production from non-Opec producers, especially the US and Russia, and reduced demand for Opec’s own oil at a time when the market was already troubled by signs of slowing demand growth into 2019. Adding to this, we have the reduced impact of US sanctions against Iran’s export ability after Washington unexpectedly granted waivers for some countries, including some of the world’s biggest buyers.
The 7% drop in WTI crude oil and 6.6% drop in Brent were the worst one-day losses for these benchmarks in three years. It looked like a classic capitulation move with bulls finally throwing in the towel following weeks of relentless selling. It now raises the question of whether the market has overshot to the downside, just like Brent did to the upside at the beginning of October when it hit $87/barrel.
The International Energy Agency's November Oil Market Report
released earlier today confirmed the ongoing trend of rising non-Opec production while demand growth was kept close to unchanged as a weaker economic outlook into 2019 was being offset by lower oil prices. To this, the IEA said "oil demand is slowing in several non-OECD countries, as the impact of higher year-on-year prices is amplified by currency devaluations and slowing economic activity". On supply, the report stated said "global oil supplies are growing rapidly, as record output from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US more than offsets declines from Iran and Venezuela. October output was up 2.6 million barrels/day on a year ago. Non-Opec output will grow by 2.4 mb/d this year and 1.9 mb/d in 2019".
The below charts combined the monthly data from Opec, IEA, and the EIA. They show the clear trend of rising non-Opec supply hitting a market where demand growth is stable to lower. The 2019 balance continues to show a rising surplus and this has led the IEA to forecast an implied stock build of 2 mb/d in the first half of next year, all things being equal (i.e. that we do not see unexpected supply disruptions from produces such as Libya, Nigeria and Iraq).