We are a mere 7 days into a new year, and have already seen the first oil rally in the markets. Many factors have played a role in the first rally of the new year. Oil has been tumultuous over the last 11 months but has seen some stability and positivity since Biden’s election win in November. Biden was confirmed by the senate to be the 46th President of the United States of America and he will have a democratic controlled House and Senate to put his plans into action.
The oil industry of Venezuela has had a tumultuous year under sanctions from the United States, poor refining network, supply shortages as well as ongoing political and social challenges. The situation has gone from bad to worse for the once dominant member of OPEC. According to two workers at state owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), Venezuelans have begun stealing crude from the idled oilfields and distilling homemade gasoline.
Nearly one month ago, U.S. oil futures hit a historic moment, dropping below zero for the first time. At that time traders were scrambling to pay buyers to take off crude futures, while month end rolls were looming. This morning, U.S. oil futures climbed roughly 9% to $32 a barrel, a price that would allow some of the lowest cost oil wells in the United States to break even. Oil prices are roughly half of what they were to start the year, but the slight uptick in driving across America, has helped rally the oil prices. Currently, 87E10 gasoline pump prices are at an average of $1.88 a gallon in the U.S., about $0.98 less than last year.
The narrative today is that we are facing a global pandemic due to the coronavirus outbreak. It’s absolutely crushing equity and oil markets with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 980 points and WTI crude oil down $2.75/barrel – and it could get worse.
The events over the weekend in Saudi Arabia are causing concerns throughout the nation. The oil installations attacked resulted in the removal of six percent of daily world consumption, which will have an impact on motorists and consumers in the United States as early as today. The attack on Saudi Aramco’s Abqaiq plant in Buqyaq and the Khurais oil field is the biggest disruption to Saudi Arabia’s oil industry since the early 1990’s. The pain consumers may feel center around how long it takes normal output from the world’s second-largest oil producer to return.
Oil prices rose Tuesday to two week highs as traders prepare for tomorrow’s forecasted cut in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve and a crude oil draw in the Department of Energy weekly inventory report.
Analysts are getting increasingly worried that the refining industry will not be prepared in time to meet the lower sulfur regulation under the new International Maritime Organization (IMO) set to begin January 1, 2020 and will subsequently increase diesel prices in relation to crude oil.
It has been a wild Monday for traders after President Trump tweeted yesterday that the United States will increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, which, is casting doubt on the likelihood of a successful U.S. and Chinese trade deal.
China and India have had considered on creating a “club” which will negotiate better prices with oil exporting countries and will be looking to import more U.S. crude oil in order to reduce OPEC’s sway. Two of the world’s largest oil importers, second and third respectfully, have exchanged senior level visits several times to discuss the premiums placed on oil sold to Asian nations. India, which imports more than 80% of its oil requirements, has seen oil prices increase to more than $75 a barrel.
Oil prices are taking a breather today after Wednesday’s strong rally due in large part to the gasoline inventory draw and low production levels in Venezuela.