Oil prices are rising today as a result of forecasts by IEA and OPEC that project supply surpluses in coming months and after API projected a modest crude stocks build in the US.
Here is Rystad Energy’s daily market comment from our Senior Oil Markets Analyst Louise Dickson:
When the trajectory of the oil market’s supply tightness is being challenged by both the IEA and OPEC, it’s difficult for the trading mood to not turn bearish.
Prices are falling on forecasts that the world may see oil surpluses again from as early as next month, if OPEC expectations materialize, and last’s week’s projected build in US crude stocks offered no relief.
Bearish expectations for future balances are also met with the worrying rise of Covid-19 infections in Europe, which could land a blow to oil demand as restrictions are reinstated or even priced in on the horizon.
Triple-digit price forecasts made by some overly-bullish analysts just weeks ago are now being softened or subdued.
Extremely high oil prices are not sustainable for the long term as producers are incentivized to unearth more oil and buyers could be pushed to lower demand for cost reasons.
The multi-year record high prices that we saw lately could already have been the ceiling of this rally, as the market will transition to healthier balances in coming months.
Growing supply in the US and promised future incremental increases from OPEC+ threaten to halt the 17-month streak of the market being in a supply deficit as demand ticks back.
Supply in the US has managed to spring back by more than 500,000 bpd this year, and could gain another 700,000 bpd in growth by the end of 2022.
The US output boost is underway even though companies are still targeting modest growth in production and rather focusing on shareholder returns.
In the less market-driven side of supply, OPEC+ is set to bring back more than 2.7 million bpd between the end of 2021 and end of 2022, which will add further strain to what is poised to be an over-supplied market perhaps as early as February 2022.
While overall our view for the remainder of 2022 is bullish, which means we should see sustained high prices, there will be some bearish crumbs along the way, with the first pivotal corner coming as early as February 2022 when lower seasonality hits consumption.
Another supply risk could come from Iran, which is set to restart nuclear negotiations at the end of this month. With a broad consensus between the US and China to hammer through a deal, the lifting of sanctions could unleash another 1 million bpd of Iranian barrels throughout the course of 2022.
While the oil bulls may have to come to terms with the fact the nearly 2-year oil price rally is fading, oil consuming countries will celebrate the turnaround.
The US, China, India, and Japan all have reason to want to nudge the market into a more bearish trajectory to wave off inflation woes and keep the world’s largest economies breathing in a still unchartered and risky pandemic recovery.