Comm: Precious


Oil prices have been rising strongly on the global market. However, those gains took a breather yesterday when eye-opening new info emerged on the oil market—the US is now producing more than 10 million barrels of crude oil per day. The mark was hit in November, and arrived much sooner than anyone expected. The US has only broken that threshold twice in the past, both times in 1970.

FINSUM: Okay so our big concern with the oil market right now is that these higher prices are not sustainable. The fundamental oversupply of oil has not been solved. The only thing holding up prices is the fact that OPEC members, for the moment, are happy to let the US benefit disproportionately from their output cuts. This output figure might change that.


Oil prices have done very well over the last several months. Prices have been rising at the pump, making producers happier and consumers less so. However, gloomier days may lay ahead. The IEA thinks US shale oil output may soon surge on the back of higher prices. If this happens, it would undue the supply reduction OPEC’s cuts have created and send the market downward. Additionally, it would likely lead to an unwind of OPEC’s cuts, as if they were maintained, the reductions would be disproportionately benefitting OPEC’s competitors.

FINSUM: Oil prices have been doing better, but that does not change the fact that world has a fundamental oversupply of oil. This is not a problem by any means, but is a factor that will weigh on prices for years to come.


Oil has been in a bear market for about three years. While it has not been consistent and there have been ups and downs, oil prices have been mostly stuck, plagued by oversupply. However, Citi thinks that paradigm is about to disappear, with prices rising to $80 per barrel. Citi says a host of geopolitical risks, including sanctions on Iran, broader Middle East tensions, and North Korea are three issues which will send prices higher.

FINSUM: We aren’t big fans of this prediction. Not so much because we don’t think oil could move higher, but because forecasting political risks is a hopeless exercise. Here is a different view: the OPEC agreement falls apart because the only producer it is helping is the US (which is not in OPEC), sending prices much lower.

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