Hot July, oil on fire

July became a month of deceived expectations. The greatest disappointment brings oil. The drop of the oil prices by 21 % in the month reminds the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis. However, you do not need to escape into the time of “Avatar” triumph to realize the situation. The current consequences of the “oil fever” are obvious in the Q2 reports of the industry. Exxon Mobil and Chevron have posted their worst quarterly return since 2009 and 2012 respectively. The first one is scaling back its share buybacks, the second one have fired 2% of its employees all over the world. Both of them pushed down the Dow Johns Industrial Average, which lost 0.4%. Frustrating earnings from major energy companies triggered a selloff in the market. At the first trading session in August the WTI futures were changing hands close to $46.00 a barrel, meanwhile the spread between the Brent and the oil from Texas stayed close to $4.80. The declining trend is strong. China is slowing down – who will work out millions barrels of the glut and pay more? Perhaps, the strongest economy in the world does.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration mentioned last Wednesday that crude oil industrial inventories were impoverished by 4.203 million barrels, but the message has failed to affect the market. A Baker Hughes data showed last Friday the number of U.S. oil rigs rose to 664 from 659 a week earlier. So more oil rigs drill – more millions barrels flow into inventories. The demand for gasoline in America is soaring. This is a probable reason to launch additional oil rigs. Nevertheless, Barclays forecasts decrease of production in the United States next year, if prices will stay this level.
By the way, what happens with a prediction for $75 per barrel by the end of the year? The price was mentioned several times by different authorities. T. Boone Pickens from the hedge fund BP Capital Management sees the oil price at the level of $75 per barrel by the end of 2015. Abdel Mahdi, the Oil Minister of Iraq, identifies the prices heading towards $75 per barrel. And even Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh expects the same price as a relevant remuneration for the efforts of those, who are lucky enough to own a land rich with a modern version of milk and honey. Current market sentiments are blue. At the moment $75 per barrel looks like a world in the “Avatar” movie… In the very beginning of 2009 the price has fallen down to almost $41.68 per barrel and it has been required several months for recovering. Unfortunately for us, at the moment oil is surviving through the “after Iranian deal” trouble + Chinese slowdown + Russian unpredictability, so volatility is higher.
After all, if Tehran is anticipating the oil to climb above $70 at the moment the Iranian flow will join the open trade, it is better to get a lower price. In the 1980s dropping oil prices have crushed the USSR; let them make life harder for the Islamic State this time.