If you’ve received the brief for European trading session/ Asian round up, it is likely that that the brief would say something along the lines of weaker than expected China Industrial Production pulling Crude prices down. This may appear reasonable Prima Facie as Crude prices is indeed lower at $93.70 per barrel, 4 dimes lower than Friday’s close of $94.10. Chinese data is also indeed less than uplifting – headline Q4 GDP Y/Y is higher than expected at 7.7%, but becomes less than expected when adjusted for seasonality. Industrial production came in at 9.7% versus 9.8% forecast, while Retail Sales growth is slower at 13.6% Y/Y versus 13.7% in Nov. Hence it is true that China economic numbers are indeed bearish, and may even be a leading factor why Asian equities and now European Bourses are trading lower.
However, when we look at price action closely, we would notice that the decline in WTI actually started before the Chinese data were released. Prices have actually remained relatively stable in the few hours following the Chinese numbers, with prices staying above the 93.5 support level. Hence, to say that it’s the Chinese data that has driven WTI lower is patently wrong. It may be more accurately to say that this morning’s bearish momentum is a continuation of Friday’s failure to stay above 94.50, resulting in technical bearish pressure which sent prices lower. The fact that 94.5 remains strong despite the bearish fundamentals and broad risk off appetite is a good sign that it is technical influences that is at play right now.
This would imply that the likelihood of 93.5 holding becomes higher, which is in line with Stochastic as Stoch curve is already within Oversold region and seems likely to push up higher. This opens up a potential move back towards 94.5 once again, but traders will need to be cautious here as risk appetite remains heavily bearish. Given the overall bearishness, traders should also be aware that prices may never reach 94.5 and push lower once again. A higher probability trade in this case would be to wait for a bearish rejection off 94.5 (if it even happens) or for a bearish break of 93.5 which may bring out stronger bearish acceleration.
Daily Chart is also bearish, with prices appearing to be pushing following the rejection by 95.0 consolidation Channel Top. Stochastic readings are pointing higher amidst a bullish cycle, but it’s still possible that Stoch curve may still reverse lower from here given that we’ve had similar precedence back in early Dec 2013. All these open the possibility of a push towards a reasonable bearish target of 91.50. This is also in line with WTI fundamentals where oversupply concerns remains despite higher implied demand seen in recent weeks.
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