Oil Prices Are Swinging Higher. Why the Rally Could Continue.

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Updated Aug. 24, 2021 5:23 p.m. ET / Original Aug. 24, 2021 11:22 americium ET

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A pump jack operating adjacent Loco Hills successful Eddy County, New Mexico

Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

Oil is backmost connected the upswing. The planetary benchmark terms climbed supra $70 a tube connected Tuesday, adding to large gains connected Monday.

Some affirmative quality astir countries containing Covid-19, and expanding assurance successful the supply-demand representation look to beryllium keeping prices aloft. Oil stocks were rising, too, though astir are inactive down sharply implicit the past month. Exxon Mobil (ticker: XOM) roseate 0.8%. Whiting Petroleum (WLL), a smaller institution that tends to determination much with lipid prices, was up 1.4%, but is disconnected 14% implicit the past month.

Hopes for $100 lipid this year are astir apt gone, but determination are signs of momentum down the rebound.

Oil had fallen for 7 trading days successful a enactment done Friday, the longest losing streak since 2018 for Brent crude, the planetary benchmark, and since 2019 for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark. Brent mislaid 8.8% during the streak, and WTI dropped 10%.

On Monday, lipid regained overmuch of the worth it lost, with Brent rising 5.5% and WTI up 5.6%. That rally extended connected Tuesday, arsenic Brent futures roseate 2.4%, to $70.38, and WTI roseate 2.2%.

For overmuch of the past year, lipid has moved connected 2 factors: the dispersed of Covid-19 and the decisions of OPEC and its allies astir whether to summation oregon alteration production. In January, OPEC decided to support accumulation low, and successful July announced that it would dilatory reconstruct accumulation to the marketplace implicit the adjacent year. The radical is not acceptable to conscionable until adjacent month, truthful determination has been a lull successful guidance since past month’s meeting.

In the past 2 weeks, Covid-19 has continued to dispersed successful respective countries, and appears to beryllium depressing gasoline and pitchy substance demand. That helped thrust the selloff successful crude. But information retired of China shows that that state was capable to halt the dispersed of Covid done much assertive lockdown measures, and question is picking up. 

Jeffrey Currie, the caput of commodities probe astatine Goldman Sachs, argued successful a enactment published Monday that the selloff was overdone successful portion due to the fact that proviso has stayed low. In general, Currie believes that producers are investing excessively small successful caller projects contiguous to drawback up to aboriginal growth, and that means prices are apt to rise.

He expects the Delta variant “will beryllium to beryllium a transient event, and that U.S. producers volition clasp their newfound discipline, arsenic the drivers of our bullish presumption displacement from cyclical request impulses to the structural binding constraints of underinvestment successful proviso that were lone accelerated by Covid-19.”

Currie’s fourth-quarter lipid terms estimation is $80 a barrel, among the highest connected Wall Street.

One important level to ticker is whether WTI exceeds $70, “a interruption of which could beryllium precise bullish,” according to Oanda expert Craig Erlam. “There is inactive country to adhd to the promising commencement to the week.”

Write to Avi Salzman astatine avi.salzman@barrons.com

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