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Brent Crude Tops $70 For First Time Since 2014

Thursday, January 11, 2018 10:41
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As WTI crude futures top $64.50, amid what looks like a stop-run over $64. At the same time, Brent crude futures spiked above $70 for the first time since Dec 2014.

As Citi notes, just before the London open, Reuters, citing the UAE energy minister said that OPEC would commit to a supply deal for all of 2018.  WSJ also rehashed higher Street forecasts, which have been coming in since the end of 2017.

Investors have piled into commodities markets in the last month as the most bullish oil market structure in years is buttressed by OPEC-led production cuts, strong global economic growth and a softer U.S. dollar. 

WTI hits $64.50…

And Brent tops $70…

To its highest since Dec 2014…

As Bloomberg reports, for many investors, it’s all about backwardation.

As oil supplies have tightened, near-term contracts have become pricier than later-dated ones. That market structure makes it profitable to hold onto a long position, as each month investors roll into cheaper contracts further along the curve. Last week, the nearest Brent futures were trading at their biggest premium to those for a year later since 2014.

“Being long oil gives a positive annual return, even if oil stays flat,” said Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst at UBS Group AG. “The last time you could say that was in 2014.”

Additionally, the global macro-economic picture is also supporting prices. While surging economic growth helped demand to soar in 2017, the U.S. dollar slid through most of the year as other global economies fared better. With the typical inverse link between crude prices and the dollar taking hold once again in the second half of the year, oil got another shove.

However, there are plenty of technical warning signs flashing red. Both Brent and WTI have closed in overbought territory in recent days, while a major Fibonacci retracement level sits at about $71.40 for Brent, should the psychologically key $70-a-barrel marker be pierced. As a result, “$70 to $72 a barrel looks toppish in the short-term,” Hewson said.


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