Saudi Arabia’s plans to buy and sell third-party crude prompt concerns about how widely Aramco will expand its trading apparatus and how it will use its market power.
The slowdown in action at the CFTC is worrisome since it comes at a time of large growth in financial markets, including petroleum futures, which are susceptible to manipulation and aggressive trading tactics.
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.
OPEC, along with Russia, will take another stab at figuring out a strategy to support prices at an informal meeting in Algiers next week, and traders are split on what the outcome will be.
OPEC policy, fresh data from agencies such as the IEA and the EIA, price speculators, and geopolitical disruptions are all known as market movers. But there’s another important player in oil price movements, and that’s the Federal Reserve.
China’s forthcoming launch of a crude futures exchange to be traded with the yuan is another major step to cement itself as a global economic powerhouse and challenge the U.S. currency’s dominance in oil markets.
After a number of years of relative price stability, the oil market is again dealing with wilder fluctuations on a more regular basis, as technical traders such as the quants play a key role.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has downwardly revised its U.S. production forecast for next year once again, the latest indicator of how low oil prices have affected high-cost shale output.