After the recent attacks on the oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, demand for spot crude oil has risen. Russian oil demand has been very strong in the Asian market as a result of it. With recent U.S. sanctions on Chinese cargo ships, freight rates have spiked on tankers in the Pacific. This has prompted the Asian market to bid on freight that ship shorter distances, making the option of Russian crude oil more desirable.
Recent drone attacks have wreaked havoc on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities along with imposed sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. These events should all be pointing one direction for the crude prices…..up. Instead of the anticipated price increase, the recent fear of recession has helped keep the market in check.
President Trump recently threatened to tax, nearly $300 billion dollars of Chinese products, by 10%. The already volatile oil market, seems to have room for some extra volatility. The volatility would largely cycle around China’s response to the U.S. tariffs. If China responds by purchasing oil from Iran, analysts speculate crude could rapidly approach $30 per barrel. Trump could impose the sanctions on the Chinese imports as soon as September 1st. Trump also threatened that he could raise the tariff, if no progress has been made towards a trade deal.
As we head into the month of August, the New York Mercantile Exchange front month futures shifts to September. When we think of September we think of the fall and the seasonal changes to gasoline specifications. While the price spread between the expiring August contract (summer grade) and the October contract (reflecting higher reid vapor pressure) is over $0.20 per gallon. Will the market prices go down as the spread suggests?
According to reports, Iran is quickly going to breach the Uranium-stockpile limit set by the current nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has already warned that a new deal needed to be in action by Sunday June 7, 2019 or the Islamic Republic will increase enrichment of Uranium. Globally, there is much concern with the growth rate of Iran’s uranium cache, because they are just a step away from weapon-grade levels of uranium.