Easwaran Kanason

Co - founder of NrgEdge
Last Updated: January 7, 2018
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Business Trends

Brent’s spectacular vault over $68/barrel this week, with WTI managing to breach the $62 mark — heights last seen  in December 2014 — prompted a chorus of calls for a price correction.

Rising geopolitical tensions, attacks on oil infrastructure, technical problems choking off supplies, record freezing temperatures across the US and a continued weekly drawdown in US crude inventories all conspired to push crude past successive new highs as 2018 began.

The certainty of around 1.7 million b/d of OPEC/non-OPEC supply cuts remaining in place through the end of the year and a strong global economic growth outlook underpinning expectations of healthy oil demand have been at the core of an increasingly bullish sentiment since the end of last year

WTI finally flipped into backwardation at the front end of the forward curve this week, nearly four months after Brent, suggesting that supply and demand are being viewed as balanced.

Hedge funds and other major speculative players raised their bullish bets on ICE Brent and NYMEX WTI futures to a new record high totalling 1.07 billion barrels in the week to December 26, according to the latest regulatory data.


That net length most likely climbed further in the following days. A sharp rise in speculative length typically makes for a nervous market.

The bullish bets on Brent and WTI futures had risen to a then historic high of 919million barrels in February 2 0 1 7 amid sanguine  optimism that the OPEC/non-OPEC cuts, which had begun in January, would quickly remove the supply overhang. Then crude lost its footing and tumbled down into the $40s by early May.

So, a correction now appears overdue. The question is, what might be a trigger and how sharp a fall will it be.

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