The price of oil is going to stay low, and the fundamental issue of supply and demand in the markets is going to get even worse, according to the latest Oil Market Report from the International Energy Agency, released on Tuesday.
Everyone knows what’s up with oil right now. The price of the world’s most important commodity has crashed more than 70% since the summer of 2014, and is trading at its lowest levels in a decade.
Since the start of 2016 volatility has been a huge issue, with prices rising and falling by as much as 8% on a seemingly daily basis.
The big issue affecting the price of oil is pretty much the most basic of all economic principles: supply and demand. Oil is flooding into the market thanks to massive production from the OPEC nations, and global demand for oil, despite being at five-year highs, just can’t keep pace, sending oil tanking.
The IEA’s monthly release provides a snapshot of what’s going on globally in the oil markets, and what it says this month doesn’t provide much encouragement for anyone who thinks the price of oil is going to rise.
The IEA has increased its forecasts of how much oil supply will outstrip demand over the first half of 2016, saying that 1.75 million more barrels of oil per day will be produced than are needed, up from the 1.5 million barrels forecast in January.
That can only really mean one thing: the price of oil is going nowhere (at least nowhere upwards). As the IEA puts it — “With the market already awash in oil, it is very hard to see how oil prices can rise significantly in the short term.”
Right now, the major crude oil benchmarks, West Texas Intermediate and Brent, are trading at $30.45 and $33.26 per barrel respectively, up on the day, but the IEA doesn’t expect such price movements to be the norm going forwards. Here’s what oil looks like on Tuesday:
OPEC’s almost total refusal to even consider cutting production is the big driver of oil’s stubborn low prices, and that’s reflected in the IEA saying that the confederation of producers pumped out 280,000 more barrels every day last month.
This has been helped by Iran’s re-entry into the global markets after the lifting of Western sanctions in January. Since then, it has increased production by 80,000 barrels per day to 2.99 million, the IEA says.
In the past few weeks many of the world’s biggest banks, trading firms, and brokerages have weighed in with predictions about the oil price, and the vast majority have been negative. Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays , HSBC, and Citi, have all cut price forecasts, and on Tuesday morning, Morgan Stanley became the latest to chip in, estimating that oil will trade in the $20-30 per barrel range over the course of next year.