Beijing’s motivations for establishing a crude oil benchmark are complex, with economic, domestic, and geopolitical considerations taken into account. China’s drive for the contract to flourish will be persistent, giving it a greater chance of long-term success.
Although some hold onto bullish sentiment, traders are skewed toward a downside or rangebound bias in the near term—OPEC has lost credibility, the large inventory overhang persists, shale’s resurgence and a rising rig count continue, and the spat over Qatar didn’t affect the market. None of these factors should change anytime soon.
Widespread hedging among U.S. producers and OPEC increasing its volumes even as some members deal with unexpected supply cuts have the potential to cap prices, or possibly bring about another leg downward.
Cheap debt—the instrument that enabled the tight oil boom to take place to begin with—is now its greatest vulnerability. An expert panel discussed the various financial instruments being used to manage and restructure the long shadow of debt over the industry.