Crude Oil News Today: Poised for Strongest Weekly Gains Since April

James Hyerczyk
Updated: Jun 14, 2024, 13:05 GMT+00:00

Key Points:

  • Oil prices are in a position to post their best week since April, gaining over 3% despite rate concerns.
  • OPEC maintains a strong 2024 oil demand forecast, boosting market sentiment alongside robust U.S. fuel demand projections.
  • Rising fuel inventories start to pressure U.S. refining margins, indicating a potential slowdown in processing.
Light Crude Oil Futures

In this article:

Oil Prices See Best Week Since April

Oil prices eased on Friday as traders evaluated the impact of U.S. interest rates staying higher for longer. Despite this, both Brent and the U.S. benchmark showed their strongest weekly gains since April, rising over 3%.

At 08:56 GMT, Light Crude Oil futures are trading $77.98, down $0.64 or -0.81%.

OPEC and Demand Forecasts Support Market

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) maintained its forecast for strong global oil demand growth in 2024. Goldman Sachs projected robust U.S. fuel demand for the summer, aiding in reversing the previous week’s losses, which were driven by OPEC+’s decision to start unwinding output cuts after September. Russia’s commitment to meeting its output obligations under the OPEC+ pact further bolstered market sentiment.

Fed Rate Decision Tempers Rally

The price rally cooled after the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and delayed potential rate cuts to December. This decision raised concerns about economic growth but supported the U.S. dollar, offering some stability to Brent prices.

US Refining Margins Slump as Fuel Stocks Climb

According to John Kemp from Reuters, U.S. oil refineries have been processing petroleum at the fastest rate for this time of year since before the pandemic, with 17.5 million barrels per day (b/d) processed in early June. However, rising fuel inventories have started to weigh on crack spreads, indicating a potential slowdown ahead. Gasoline inventories climbed to 234 million barrels, surpassing the 10-year seasonal average, while distillate stocks also increased significantly.

Hedge Funds Anticipate Market Adjustments

Hedge funds and money managers have been reducing their positions in gasoline and diesel futures, reflecting expectations of an oversupplied market. This activity has contributed to the downward pressure on refinery margins. The 3-2-1 crack spread, the margin from turning three barrels of crude into two barrels of gasoline and one barrel of diesel, averaged $24 per barrel in June, down from $31 in March.

Hurricane Season Poses Additional Risks

The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be more active than usual, potentially disrupting refinery operations on the U.S. Gulf Coast. This risk necessitates higher inventories to mitigate potential disruptions, but continued stock builds could further pressure margins and prices.

Market Forecast: Bearish Outlook

Given the current economic concerns, high inventory levels, and potential disruptions from an active hurricane season, the short-term outlook for oil prices appears bearish. While demand projections remain strong, immediate market conditions suggest a cautious approach as traders await clearer signs of increased fuel consumption.

Technical Analysis

Daily Light Crude Oil Futures

Light crude oil futures are trading lower on Friday after crossing to the weak side of the 200-day moving average at $78.17. Trader reaction to this long-term indicator will determine the direction of the market today.

A sustained move under $78.17 will signal the presence of sellers with the short-term pivot at $76.41 the next target.

Taking out $78.17 with conviction could trigger a surge into the 50-day moving average at $79.71, followed by the swing top at $80.11. This could lead to a significant upside breakout.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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