Comm: Precious


Oil has been doing absolutely wonderfully this year. The OPEC countries, in harmony with other big oil producers, have successfully worked together to undermine the competitiveness of the oil market and succeeded in boosting prices (okay, that was a little cynical, but true). Now, that dearth of supplies may be about to change, as OPEC is considering a boost of up to 600,000 bpd. There is considerable disagreement over the possible boost, with Iran wanting to maintain the status quo, and Russia wanting to raise it. Saudi Arabia also wants to boost supply, and the highest figure being pushed is an increase of 1.5 mbpd. Open meets on June 22nd.

FINSUM: This could have a considerable impact on the market. Investors in oil and oil-related equities be aware.


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.

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