Unless you’re a bear hibernating, everyone knows the Coronavirus is causing panic and particularly panic in the markets. Speaking of bears, we are now possibly entering a bear market.
U.S. shale oil and gas producers are feeling the pressure from the latest panic on the spread of the coronavirus. Impact from the virus has caused West Texas Intermediate to fall below $45 a barrel. In its latest Drilling Productivity Report, released earlier this month, the Energy Information Administration said, “oil production has declined across six of the seven major shale players in the country, by some 21,000 bpd. However, the Permian production is still growing by 39,000 bpd. Good news is for the consumer, prices look to continue to go down whereas the oil and gas drillers feel pressured with the continued slow production “
Very little price change has occurred with crude oil prices on Presidents’ Day after OPEC + has not yet decided to impose further production cuts to offset demand concerns caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic, was killed Thursday night in an airstrike in Baghdad, the U.S. Defense Department confirmed. The death of such a powerful figure in the Iranian landscape raises questions about instability in a region which supplies about 25 percent of the world’s oil. Brent Oil, the international benchmark of crude, surged to nearly $70 a barrel (an increase of 4 percent) whereas West Texas Intermediate, the American oil benchmark for crude, also rose about 4 percent, to nearly $64 a barrel. This is the largest price increase since the attack on a major Saudi oil processing plant back in September.
As the end of this week winds down and people prepare for the holidays next week, light liquidity will most likely be the name of the game in our energy markets. Light liquidity means trading volume is lower than normal which is to be expected during this time of year. Therefore, the bid/ask spreads are wider. Meaning that if the computer-driven trading houses decide to either buy or sell a lot of volume, the market can move violently in one direction rather quickly. What does this mean for our industry? This means that our customers can be very opportunistic especially if we see a retracement in prices after this rally we’ve seen since the beginning of December.