Remember how back on April 20 West Texas Intermediate traded at a negative $40.32 a barrel on the futures market? Then the fears were that anyone who owned a forward future and who was forced to accept delivery of that oil would not be able to find a place to store it.
Today the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate is selling for a positive $33.51 a barrel for June delivery, up another 4.85% today. International benchmark Brent is selling for $35.80, up 3.32% today.
OPEC and Russia and U.S. oil shale producers have cut production and aren’t flooding the market with oil. By next month OPEC projects production be down 17 million barrels a day. That will go along way to soaking up the estimated 30 million barrels a day surplus of supply over demand. Part of that reduction in supply will come from the cuts that OPEC+ members agreed to make. The rest of it will come from production cuts in non-OPEC countries that are a result of oil operators in areas like Texas’s Permian Basin reducing production as prices fell below break even.
You’ll note, of course, that there’s still a big gap between that estimate of a 30 million barrels a day of excess supply and the projected reduction in production of 17 million barrels a day.
Assumptions of a pick up in global economic growth and oil consumption as economies in the United States and Europe re-open after the coronavirus shutdown make up the difference. Nobody can yet see an actual economic recovery so the traders here are relying on anecdotal evidence–business is up at their local Starbucks–and optimism or simply the wish that the worst of the coronavirus recession is behind us.
That hope won’t really confront hard data until, in my estimation, the middle of June. So the oil market could well continue to move higher over the next three weeks. The $40 a barrel level might result in a pause as everyone waits for some data on the demand side.
On the rally in oil and on reports of big gains in online sales from Target (TGT) and Wal-Mart (WMT), U.S. stocks are up strongly today.
As of 3 p.m. New York time, the Standard & Poor’s 500 is top 159% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is ahead 1.44%. The NASDAQ Composite is higher by 1.93% an the Russell 2000 small cap index has gained 3.09%. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) is up 1.05%.
Gold is up 0.41% and silver has gained 0.14%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury has slipped a little to 0.68% as bond prices have moved higher The yield on the 2-year Treasury has tipped lower to 0.16%