Friday, May 15, 2015

Phil Flynn on the Growl of the Crude Oil Bears

While the bearish oil traders have been missed out on a rally for almost $20 a barrel, they are now doubling down on their bearish calls .This comes after today may set a near record 9th week of gains for the most consecutive weekly gains in at least 30 years. Yet despite that prices run bearish, market talk is getting louder and at least for right now some market participants are starting to listen. As oil tried for new highs for the years this week the bearish calls came from high and low and the press has been widely covering them and may have caused some traders to take profits. Many Bears still think that the market has been wrong for the last 9 weeks and an inevitable price collapses is just around the corner.

Bearish traders focused on the fact that U.S. production had held steady last week and talk that refiner demand has fallen. Refiners cut runs by the most in four months but have been refining product at a near record pace for this time of year. They point out that even though that U.S. supply is starting to fall it does not take away from the fact that we put away over 117 million barrels in storage over the last 6 months. Yet oil has rallied 9 weeks in a row in spite of that. Or that refined product increased in March despite the fact that normally refined product falls. Yet it may not be the lack of demand that caused that but strong refining margins that is encouraging refiners to ramp up production ahead of what should be an uptick in demand.

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We also hear some bears complain that the only reason that oil did not go down to $25 a barrel was an increase in the value of the dollar! Well they might also argue that oil would not have gone down into the $40 handle unless the dollar soared. If you look at the chart of the dollar it went straight up after the November OPEC meeting because of the thought that the U.S. was going to start raising interest rates while the rest of the world either lowered rates. While that is going to happen the fear that the U.S. would start rate increases almost immediately obviously is not going to happen. So know these dollars has adjusted by falling as U.S. data is weaker than expected. Still today an uptick in the dollar is weighing on oil.

Oil is also anticipating an uptick in demand as global easing will spark demand. Despite talk of weak demand in China they just imported a record amount of oil. Oil products did show strength as RBOB futures rallied off of refining problems. Glitch in the Mid-west could help provide some back door support for oil.

Uncertainty about the success of President Obama's Camp David Iran Deal initiative. The President tried to assure Mid-East Leaders that the U.S. would rise up and defend them from any attack. It looks like we could have an arms race in the Middle East. Gold is giving back a big part of its recent rally as the dollar tries for a comeback. The talk that India's demand was rising had been a supporting factor. Support also came from The World Gold Council report that said that Germany's demand for gold and coins spiked by 20% in the first quarter from the year before. Do you think the average German is a little worried about the impact of QE and a Greek bail out on their purchasing power? Yet global gold demand fell 1% in the first quarter, as Chinese jewelry demand fell hard. The Report now expects India to overtake China as the world's largest gold consumer.

Phil Flynn
The PRICE Group

See Phil on the Fox Business Network! Market Watch says he is a must follow, follow him on Twitter @energyphilflynn or email Phil at pflynn@pricegroup.com.

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