Oil Price Fundamental Daily Forecast – Lower on Lingering Fears of Slower Economic Growth, Weak Demand
U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading lower on Friday, but are still in a position to finish higher for the week. Today’s move has nearly wiped out all of yesterday’s gains after renewed recession fears dampened an improved demand outlook by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
At 13:44 GMT, September WTI crude oil futures are trading $92.35, down $1.99 or -2.11% and December Brent crude oil futures are at $95.50, down $1.65 or -1.70%. The United States Oil Fund ETF (USO) is at $74.89, down $1.39 or 1.82%.
Last week, crude oil prices fell sharply on fears that rising inflation and interest rates will hit economic growth and demand for fuel.
The playing field changed this week to the better, however, after softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data drove down the odds of a super-sized Fed rate hike in September and the IEA released a report that called for higher demand.
An unexpected drop in gasoline inventories was another supportive catalyst while a sharp rise in crude oil inventories and the possibility of an Iran Nuclear deal weighed on prices.
Although buyers may have found value at a long-term retracement zone at $89.54 to $82.80 for September WTI futures and at $90.95 to $85.25 for December Brent crude oil, they are still searching for a catalyst to change the main trend to up.
Some thought the IEA’s stronger demand expectations would do the trick, but today’s price action suggests it may have not been enough to erase recessionary fears.
Experts expect to see an economic downturn but the size and duration are unpredictable at this time. Additionally, evidence this week suggests inflation may be slowing. However, Fed comments indicate that policymakers are likely to remain hawkish while calling for aggressive rate hikes until inflation is subdued.
That being said, we’re expecting to see a choppy trade over the near-term until there is clarity about the demand outlook, or unless there is a major supply disruption.