WTI Bearish Streak Continues – All Eyes on the OPEC Decision
Arslan Butt • 4 min read
During Tuesday’s Asian trading session, the WTI crude oil price failed to put a stop to its losing streak of the previous day, remaining depressed around the $ 45.00 level, mainly due to the intensifying curiosity on the part of investors, ahead of an OPEC+ meeting, where a decision will be taken as to whether the OPEC+ organization will continue with their current production cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day or put a stop those cuts.
If the significant producers of the world were to extend their output cuts, this would underpin the crude oil prices. Across the ocean, the delay in the US COVID-19 aid package and the worries over the intensifying numbers of coronavirus cases across the globe are also playing a major role in undermining the crude oil prices. Meanwhile, the long-lasting uncertainty over the Brexit trade talks and fears of a full-fledged trade/political war between the West and China has also hurt the crude oil prices. Conversely, the upbeat release of China’s Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November boosted hopes over economic recovery in China, which turned out to be one of the leading factors that has helped to limit deeper losses in the crude oil prices.
Meanwhile, the on-going weakness of the US dollar, triggered by the possibilities of further monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve, could also be considered as one of the key factors that is helping to probe bearish moves in the crude oil prices, due to the inverse relationship between the oil price and the price of the US dollar. At the moment, crude oil is trading at $ 45.02 and consolidating in a range between 44.83 and 45.34.
Having failed to come to any production-linked decision during the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members need one more day of discussions, and a battle to push for increases in output levels. Once they have reached a decision, the leaders will approach their allies to convey the OPEC+ decision on Thursday, per Reuters.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members failed to give any clues over the production-linked decision during the JMMC meeting, which has resulted in a lot of curiosity among the investors, to see whether the OPEC+ organization will continue with their current production cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day, or put a stop to those cuts. Therefore, OPEC and its allies, OPEC+, have postponed their output policy discussions until Thursday. It is worth recalling that the OPEC+ group was initially ready to ease production cuts by about 2 million BPD starting in January, but demand remains weak, so most of the investors are hoping that the production cuts will remain in place.
Elsewhere, the fears of rising numbers of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the US, Europe and some of the notable Asian nations, are still fueling worries over global economic recovery, which puts a further burden on the crude oil prices. As per the latest report, the coronavirus (COVID-19) figures in the US are increasing day by day. Across the pond, the Brexit woes and talks surrounding the tensions between the West and the Dragon Nation are exerting further pressure on crude oil prices.
Despite the worsening coronavirus (COVID-19) conditions and the worries over the full-fledged trade/political war between the West and China, the market trading sentiment has been flashing green since the Asian session started. The reason for this could be associated with China’s upbeat Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November, which recently boosted the hopes over economic recovery in China and became the key factor that has helped to curb the bearish rally in crude oil prices. On the data front, China’s Caixin manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for November came in at 54.9 for November, which was up from 53.6 in October.
In the meantime, the pharmaceutical regulators in the US, Europe and the UK are set for approving the coronavirus vaccines that have shown approximately 90% effectivity rates during their final trials. This, in turn, has boosted the hopes of the early delivery of the much-awaited cure for the pandemic, which has helped to limit the losses in crude.
On the USD front, the broad-based US dollar failed to stop its declining streak of earlier in the day, and remained bearish during the Asian session as doubts continue over the economic recovery from COVID-19 in the US. In the meantime, the probability of further monetary easing by the US Federal Reserve is also weighings on the greenback. It is worth recalling that Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin both showed readiness for further stimulus to help the economic growth during their prepared remarks on Monday. Besides this, the promising data from COVID-19 vaccine developers is urging investors towards riskier currencies and higher-yielding assets, rather than the safe-haven assets, which eventually led to losses in the safe-haven US dollar. The losses in the US dollar have become the key factor that has kept a lid on any additional losses in crude oil prices, as the oil price is inversely related to the price of the US dollar. Meanwhile, by 9:27 PM ET (1:27 AM GMT), the US Dollar Index Futures, which tracks the greenback against a bucket of other currencies, had dropped by 0.12%, to 91.903 .
In the absence of any significant data/events on the day, the market traders will keep their eyes on crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute, which is due later in the day. In addition to this, the updates about the US stimulus package will also be key to watch. In the meantime, the risk catalysts, like geopolitics and the virus woes, not to forget the Brexit, will also be key to watch for fresh direction. Good luck!