Oil prices ticked down Monday morning, following a more than 6% surge last week as market participants appear to be progressively more concerned about geopolitical frictions. Brent crude had slipped to just $70/bbl by 08.30 AM BST, a 0.53% decline from last week’s settlement. At the same time WTI had declined by 0.7% to trade at $65.42/bbl.
Today saw the launch of the Shanghai crude oil futures, which appears to have presented satisfying volumes and participation, including big commodities trading houses. The session also presented high levels of volatility, reaching a high of $70.88/bbl, before settling at $68.15/bbl.
Drilling activity continued to expand in the US with the fleet of active rigs increasing by four units last week, rising to a three year high, buoyed by rising crude oil prices. The fleet of rigs in the US consists of 804 active units, compared to as few as 316 units in May 2016. Seven units were added in Texas, where the Permian basin leads the way for unconventional crude oil producers. The Texan fleet of rigs rose to 499 units, levels last seen in early 2015, albeit still far from almost 900 rigs seen before the downturn in 2014.
Speculative trading recovered last week in the US as money managers lifted their net long position by 32.7 million bbls, to 458.6 million bbls, likely on the back of concerns of reviving sanctions on Iran following the appointment of Mike Pompeo as new Secretary of State. The new Secretary is a vocal critic of the deal the P5+1 inked with Iran in 2015 and is expected to at least adopt a harder stance against the OPEC member.
The Oil Research Team, EMEA
Supply Chain & Commodities Research