Oil's Collapse Deepens
(Bloomberg) -- Oil showed little sign of recovering from its unprecedented decline as investors flee a market hammered by swelling supplies and a darkening demand outlook.
Futures in New York held losses after plunging 7.1 percent in the previous session in the biggest one-day drop in more than three years. OPEC warned demand for its crude is falling faster than expected, underlining why Saudi Arabia and some other members are signaling output cuts. Still, President Donald Trump’s exhortation that the group shouldn’t cut output is stoking concerns producers may not change course to prevent a glut.
Oil’s record 12-session slide that’s taken it into a bear market has been exacerbated by a U.S. decision to grant some nations waivers from its sanctions, allowing them to continue buying some Iranian crude. Meanwhile, rising American output and inventories are pointing to an emerging glut and speculation is swirling over whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia will act to stem the price slump.
“President Trump will likely continue to keep OPEC in check, making it more difficult for OPEC and non-OPEC nations to agree on production cuts,” said Satoru Yoshida, a commodity analyst at Rakuten Securities Inc. in Tokyo. Meanwhile, “as a prolonged U.S.-China trade war is now more likely, a slower demand growth scenario is not surprising. It was apparently factored into OPEC’s monthly report.”
Hopefully, Saudi Arabia and OPEC will not be cutting oil production. Oil prices should be much lower based on supply!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 12 November 2018
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery declined as much as 56 cents to $55.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and traded at $55.37 at 8:30 a.m. in London. The contract fell $4.24 to $55.69 a barrel on Tuesday. Total volume traded was more than double the 100-day average.
Brent for January settlement was down 10 cents to $65.37 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract slumped $4.65 to $65.47 a barrel on Tuesday. The global benchmark crude traded at a $9.77 premium to WTI for the same month.
In another sign of the severity of the sell off, traders were paying the most in two years for options on futures contracts as they looked for protection -- or profit -- from the collapse. A measure of implied volatility for options jumped, while preliminary data from the New York Mercantile Exchange shows options volume hit a record.
Global demand for OPEC’s oil will be about 31.5 million barrels a day next year, the group said in its monthly report. That’s 500,000 barrels a day lower than its forecast just two months ago and about 1.4 million below current production. OPEC also cut its forecast for overall global oil demand growth by 70,000 barrel a day.
The group reported the worsening outlook as traders assess mixed signals on its next step. Following a closely watched meeting of OPEC and its allies in Abu Dhabi over the weekend that yielded no formal change in production policy, a producer committee warned that they may need “new strategies.”
Top group member Saudi Arabia said output needs to curbed by about 1 million barrels a day from October levels. Still, OPEC secondary-source data suggests the kingdom fully abandoned cuts for the first time in October. Meanwhile, another key producer Russia signaled it’s not ready to act immediately, with Energy Minister Alexander Novak highlighting the need to wait and see how the market develops.
A stronger dollar has also reduced the appeal of commodities priced in the U.S. currency. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed near the highest level in 18 months on Wednesday.
--With assistance from David Marino.To contact the reporter on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editors responsible for this story: Pratish Narayanan at email@example.com Alexander Kwiatkowski
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