Sep. is one of the strongest months for the oil price on a seasonal basis. The rally fizzled again this
this year, with large speculators exiting trades. The scenario I have followed called for oil demand
and supply to come into balance by the end of 2017, despite likely outsized inventories. With a
slower pace of global economic growth so far in 2016, oil demand is running below initial
expectations, and with supply still growing at a high rate, the inventory pipeline is susceptible
to filling further. With a nod from the Saudis, talk is now swirling around the idea of some kind
of global production ceiling if not a cut. It could happen, but 50 years of history teaches to be
careful of this kind of talk in the wake of major price busts.
I played the long side of oil over the winter / spring of this year but have been suspicious since
mainly because of the near historic long side speculative interest in the crude future. Heavy long
side interest is subsiding quickly now, but it is back to the drawing board for me as there are
question marks concerning both global supply and demand looking out 12 months. Since the big
traders and hedgers in the market get more intelligence faster than the rest of us, one rule of
successful trading in oil comes to the fore: Oil is volatile, so do not bother trying to catch tops
or bottoms, but concentrate your research when trend develops instead. Whipsaws happen, but
since oil tends to trend, spotting change can be profitable even after its price direction has
begun to establish itself.
With the peak driving season in the northern hemisphere now wrapped up, oil is set to enter a
strong price downtrend on a seasonal basis.Thus, the large swirl of talk about limiting output as
another sharp downturn in price would add to the severe economic damage net oil producers
have already sustained. Stay focused on the news.
- Peter Richardson
- Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!