Oil markets are trading within well-worn ranges.
Prices continue to converge around the Brent $44 per barrel, supported by signs of improvement in manufacturing and business sentiment across key economies while coat-tailing upswings in US stock markets, which are creating an unambiguous “risk-on” habitat this week.
Oil prices continue to pivot around the critical price axis even as OPEC+ moved to its scheduled easing of quotas.
At one stage, oil prices jumped to the highest level in nearly two weeks. The smouldering Middle East powder keg flashed overnight when a massive explosion near Beirut’s port shook the Lebanese capital and temporarily fueled fears of instability and elevated concerns about Middle East oil supply routes.
The widely anticipated draw on the in the API inventory survey print came in better than expected.
And despite a more significant than expected draw in gasoline stocks, the survey failed to elicit much of a rise in prices possibly due to the much larger build in distillate inventories than last week and an increase in barrels stored at WTI’s Cushing facility.
This suggests that perhaps traders are waiting for the more definitive EIA or more likely range bound fatigue is setting in.
But what’s interesting is that according to amalgamated information from officials, ship-tracking data, and estimates from consultants, OPEC increased output by 900,000 barrels a day to 23.43 million a day last month.
This is like floating a trial balloon, and the market barely blinked, suggesting that when it comes to the very sentiment-driven oil market, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.”
Rising OPEC+ and US production still represent a near-term threat to the view. But with at least the OPEC+ side of the supply equation well understood, investors may feel supply risks are already priced in.
The latest State-Level Coronavirus Tracer report from Goldman Sachs Heatmaps showed that on balance, the virus situation in the US continues to improve in many states, including those with very high levels of new cases.
Over the past few days, several states have seen initial declines in the level of new cases tabulating to more encouraging 14-day downward trajectories.
But this time around, both federal and most state governments want to see this sustained path of improvement before moving forward with re-opening plans after possibly removing lockdowns prematurely last time around.
Oil markets analysis and insights from Stephen Innes, Chief Global Market Strategist at AxiCorp