Comm: Precious


The oil market has had a great year. US oil prices have risen from $45 a year ago to over $70 recently. Big oil producers have successfully worked together to constrain output in an effort to boost prices. However, that condition may be set to change. OPEC has already warned that it may have to increase supply for its member producers, and now the country has a meeting in Vienna next week where that eventuality will likely be decided. One portfolio manager put it this way, saying “OPEC countries will be contemplating production levels that could potentially tip the supply/demand balance currently in place, leaving crude oil pricing susceptible to oversupply”.

FINSUM: We do not think the global cooperation with producers will last, as each wants to boost production as a way of increasing revenue.


Oil is an enticing commodity right now. Global cooperation on constraining output has led to strongly rising prices, which coupled with margin improvements during the downturn, means the sector looks ripe for great profits. But where is the best place to put money? Barron’s has tapped a top fund manager for his picks, and they are interesting. Both picks are exploration and production companies, and are Kosmos Energy and Apache. The former is a South American E&P that focuses on offshore drilling, while Apache is Houston-based and focuses more on gas.

FINSUM: These are pretty contrarian bets on small E&P companies. These seem quite high risk/high reward.


Oil has been doing very well of late. All of our readers have probably noticed it at the pump. Brent crude is currently trading around the $80 per barrel market, and all parts of the oil sector are excited after a multi-year slump. However, the market has two big problems on its hands. The first is China’s secretive oil reserves, which could be used to push prices down if the Chinese start pushing their oil into the market. Secondly, The US oil industry wants to increase output significantly and has asked OPEC for a 1mbd hike, which would once again lead to an oversupplied market.

FINSUM: We acknowledge that oil is doing well, but we are worried it will be hard to maintain current pricing because it basically relies on an oligopoly structure (cooperation on price) which we don’t think is ultimately tenable.

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