Later today, OPEC is set for a meeting to evaluate the state of the global market. And the outlook isn’t particularly inspiring for Oil bulls.
Since bouncing out from under the $20/bbl in April, Brent Oil’s recovery has plateaued, even as it keeps its head above the psychologically-important $40/bbl line. Still, the MACD clearly points to waning momentum, with Oil prices having stuck to a sideways range since September. The FXTM Trader's Sentiments also appears rather evenly split, with 52 percent net long on this asset.
Likewise, Crude oil prices are seeing similar fortunes, drifting sideways, even as it consolidates around its 50-day simple moving average. Although the International Energy Agency estimates that the demand for oil worldwide has been restored to 94 percent of pre-pandemic levels, markets are clearly not convinced.
Recall back in April, OPEC and its allies had agreed to aggressively lower their collective output in order to rebalance global markets. From the 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) that were removed starting May, those production cuts were set to be eased by about 3.9 million bpd at the start of 2021, which is in just 74 days. Their initial hopes that global demand would’ve recovered sufficiently by now to warrant restoring more Oil supply into the world has clearly been decimated by the pandemic’s refusal to go quietly into the night.
As the OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee meet on Monday, the alliance will be under pressure to delay their supply ramp-up, given how the global economy is still faltering in its post-pandemic recovery. The total number of Covid-19 cases is nearing the 40 million mark, and major Western economies are still, till this day, battling the coronavirus’s spread within their own borders. While eschewing the nationwide lockdowns that were commonplace during the first half of the year, more targeted restrictions still impede economic activity. With schools shut, work-from-home orders in place, and little allowance for social activities, such measures erode the world’s demand for Oil. Such persistent demand-side concerns ensure that the upside for Oil prices remain capped for the time being.
At least China is a bright spark in the global economy. The world’s second largest economy grew by 4.9 percent in Q3, while its industrial production and retail sales for September exceeded market expectations. During its Golden Week holidays earlier this month, that were about 425 million trips made across China within a four-day period. However, more major economies need to follow China’s lead and keep the coronavirus in check, before Oil prices can see a sustainable lift.
Although no decision is expected out of OPEC until December 1, the signs are already there that this alliance of major Oil producers may have to keep their output levels suppressed for longer if they are to retain hope that prices can climb higher from current levels. Until there is a vaccine that can help speed up the global economic recovery, perhaps Oil bulls would be content sitting off to the sidelines in the interim.
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