Thursday, April 28, 2011

Oil Prices - the beginning of a bubble or shortly before a major correction?

Some observations on Crude Oil - interestingly enough, since November 2010:
a) Oil prices have risen by about 35%

b) the global number of oil tankers underway has fallen by around 8%
c) the active oil tanker fleet's average travel speed has also fallen by about 5%,

d) at the same time, net speculative positioning in Oil futures has reached historical proportions.
e) OECD oil storage figures are acatually at the upper end of their seasonal bands! 

What does it all mean? 
1) It looks like the biggest part of the oil price increases is induced by geopolitically motivated speculation and most likely from self-reinforcing trendfollowing of investment bank clients' (through structured products, etc.).
2) We remain structurally bullish on Crude Oil for the foreseeable future due to the long term supply constraints and a structural and price-inelastic increase from the industrialization of Emerging Markets.
3) Due to an obvious temporary weakening in demand as evidenced by slowing-down tanker-activity and rising US inventories, we believe that the crude oil market is now becoming increasingly vulnerable in the medium- to short-term for a hefty correction.
4) As we remain structurally positive and the current upleg could still be the beginning of another oil investment "Mania", we would not at all recommend to sell crude oil short, but to remain engaged for the long run. 

But in the short run, it looks like the thing is getting a bit overstretchted. Investors who entered some long positions a while ago could start to lighten them up (e.g. reduce by a third, into further strength) and take some profits off the table, but only to increase their exposure again at a later stage - hopefully from better prices.

1 comment:

  1. 3 days after we posted this, crude oil peaked out and has lost 10% as per today.