Oil Market Volatility Expected to Remain High

Fasten your seat belts. Dramatic swings in the oil market may soon become the norm.
After a prolonged period of low prices and relative calm, oil watchers are predicting a surge of volatility following President Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Crude has spiked 19% this year, to prices unseen since late 2014.

Taking away Iranian oil — after production cuts by Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Russia — effectively means the margin for error in the market will become razor-thin.

West Texas Intermediate graph

In 2015 and 2016, there was so much supply that crude prices crashed. Now that buffer has been worn down so much that the market is extra-sensitive to geopolitical dangers and other shocks.

But that’s not all. Other powerful drivers are likely to jerk oil prices around, including the resurgent US dollar and a surge in production from Texas shale fields.

“Without a doubt, there are a variety of forces that could upset the balance and move us into a more volatile period,” said Ben Cook, portfolio manager at BP Capital Fund Advisors, an energy investment firm.

Analysts are already warning of an eventual return to $100 oil. That’s a remarkable swing considering that crude crashed to just $26 a barrel barely two years ago. Others are sticking by predictions that oil prices will come back to earth soon.

via CNN

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza