Today, April 6, oil fell to the lowest since mid-March today.
U.S.benchmark West Texas Intermediate closed below $97 a barrel at $96.23 (down 4.98%) for May delivery. International benchmark Brent lost 4.63% to close at $101.07 a barrel.
The news driving the selloff: The International Energy Agency said its members will release 120 million additional barrels of oil. That figure includes 60 million barrels already announced by the United States.
I think the size of this drop is an over-reaction. Yes, additional supply will make up for some the oil lost to global markets due to sanctions on Russia. And, yes, Covid-19 lockdowns in China have resulted in lower demand for oil from China’s economy.
But the global revulsion on revelations of war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine pretty much guarantees more sanctions will be applied to Russia. And it’s extremely likely that as Russia troops redeploy from towns around Kyiv, the will leave behind more evidence a campaign of terror directed at the civilian population. And if indeed this is a redeployment rather than withdrawal, as most Western military analysts now believe, the war will soon take an even more violent turn in fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Plus, of course, the shutdowns in China are temporary and oil demand will bounce back once they’re over.
I’m not selling any of the oil and natural gas hedges I added to my portfolios at the end of January. With 5 positions in my portfolios from this sector, I don’t feel the need to add another at this point.If you’d like to increase your exposure, I’d suggest the United States Oil Fund (USO). Those shares fell 2.34% today.