Can We Expect A Major Rebound In Crude Oil Prices?

Oil prices climb on prospect of OPEC cuts

"We are now trading the January 2019 WTI Crude Contract on the Globex-Nymex exchange as today is the last trading day for the December 2018 futures contract", John Thorpe, a commodity broker at Los Angeles-based Cannon Trading, told UPI.

The hedge fund and commodity fund money managers cut its combined futures and options positions on USA and Brent crude during the week-ended November 13 to the lowest level since June 27, 2017.

The S&P 500 hit a three-week low on Tuesday as weak results and forecasts from big retailers fanned worries about holiday season sales, while tech stocks continued to slide on concerns about iPhone sales.

This major catalyst could be the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting on December 6-7, at which the cartel and allies may announce a fresh production cut to stop the price decline, stabilize markets, and erase fears of looming oversupply threatening to sink prices again.

The global benchmark cleared $85 per barrel at the start of October, prompted by forecasts that United States sanctions on Iran would take a chunk of production off the market.

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However, the liquidation of net-long positioning by hedge funds and other money managers has taken a lot of pressure out of the market.

Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at futures brokerage FXTM said us comments from APEC "suggest that a deal between President Trump and President Xi is unlikely to see the light when the leaders meet at the G20 Summit later this month". That wait-and-see approach appears to contrast with Saudi Arabia's call for cuts, just weeks before a key summit in Vienna.

"I never really understood the premium behind some kind of friction between United States and Saudi Arabia from a policy standpoint".

Eight successive weeks of increases in USA crude inventories and data showing an increase in US oil rigs count are also hurting the commodity.

The market pared losses early in the US trading day when energy information provider Genscape reported that crude inventories fell in the latest week, traders said.

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"Rising US crude inventories are also weighing heavily on sentiment, with expectations of a further build (of over 2 million barrels) this week".

Official government data is due Wednesday morning.

US crude prices have now dropped as much as 31 percent from a four-year high last month.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, is pushing for the group and its partners to reduce output by 1 million to 1.4 million barrels per day to prevent a build-up of unused fuel.

While a large cut would be supportive of crude futures, clear signals from producers are needed to lift prices notably, Yawger said.

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Concerns about overproduction have roiled the oil market.

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