The light, sweet crude oil prices for August and September rose by nearly $1/bbl to close above $45/bbl on July 14, which analysts attributed to rising stock values and a falling US dollar. The rebound came a day after the front-month oil price settled at a 2-month low on the New York market.
Oil prices have been volatile after a June UK vote to leave the European Union. On July 15, traders and analysts awaited the weekly Baker Hughes Inc. US rig count. Oil prices traded higher in early New York trading on July 15.
Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy, said, “In energy, we are seeing a tug-of-war at the moment. The short-term outlook is bearish, the long-term outlook is bullish.”
Traders are looking to the dollar and the stock markets for signs about whether investors are willing to buy commodities, Hansen said.
He also noted that markets “become less liquid” during the summer because traders and investors go on vacation. “That can trigger some bigger-than-expected positioning,” resulting in price swings, he said.
Elevated US oil and product inventory levels mean the rebalance of the oil price will take time, he said. Gasoline inventories have remained stubbornly high, he said.
“We are approaching a time of the year where demand will slow,” Hansen said of gasoline demand.
Hansen said light, sweet crude could go as low as $41.50/bbl in coming weeks because of high inventories. He expects oil will trade predominantly in a range of $45/bbl to slightly above $50/bbl for the medium term.
“We have to remember that oil will eventually have to recover,” he said. “The overhang of supply has to be reduced.”
The Energy Information Administration reported July 14 that natural gas in underground storage across the Lower 48 reached an estimated 3.24 tcf as of July 8, a net increase of 64 bcf from the previous week.
Stocks were 507 bcf higher than last year at this time and 586 bcf above the 5-year average of a rounded 2.66 tcf, the Gas Storage Report said.
The natural gas contract for August was down 1¢ to a rounded $2.73/MMbtu. The Henry Hub gas price was $2.77/MMbtu, down 4¢ on July 14.
Heating oil for August delivery rose 2.5¢ to a rounded $1.41/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for August gained 3.6¢ to a rounded $1.41/gal.
The September Brent crude contract on London’s ICE rose $1.11 on July 14 to $47.37/bbl. The contract for October increased $1.12 to $47.93/bbl. The August gas oil contract settled at $403.75/tonne, up $8.25.
The average price for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ basket of 12 benchmark crudes was $42.88 on July 14, down 31¢.
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