Now that the major central banks have said their pieces and more or less hinted at their short-term biases, forex market players are turning to oil prices, another major price driver in Q1 2016, for volatility. Here are three things about the Black Crack that you need to know today.
1. Oil stockpiles reports support oil glut concerns
Just last week a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed that U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 8.8 million barrels – higher than the expected 5.7 million barrels –to reach a record high of 531.8 million barrels.
A day later the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) surprised oil traders by printing that there’s an additional 9.4 million barrels in the U.S. crude oil inventories in the week ending in March 18. This marks the sixth consecutive week of supplies increase and bumps up the overall supplies to 532.5 million. Yipes!
2. OPEC and non-OPEC members will have a huddle next month
Reports like the ones listed above underscore concerns that the global oil supply continues to exceed demand, and could further weigh on crude oil prices. This is why market players are keeping close tabs on the meeting in Doha, Qatar on April 17.
Qatar, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has invited OPEC members and major non-member producers to discuss the possibility of freezing their output to their January levels. If successful, this would be the first time in more than 15 years that the oil cartel has made deals with non-member producers.
So far 10 countries (Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela, Oman, and Russia) which drill more than 37.2 million barrels a day have committed to the meeting while other countries like Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, and Kazakhstan have yet to submit their RSVPs.
Not surprisingly, the highly-anticipated event has already gained several criticisms. For starters, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has already called the output freeze proposal “meaningless,” saying that among the participants only Saudi Arabia has the capacity to actually increase production.
Some analysts also believe that the other countries will likely bump up their production before agreeing to any output freeze if not ignore the agreement altogether and just take advantage of the oil price increase that would likely result from the announcement.
3. Oil prices have responded positively to output freeze speculations
Whether or not the April meeting actually affects global oil production levels, we can’t deny that even the possibility of an output freeze has already had a positive effect on oil prices.
A quick look at the Brent crude oil chart tells us that the uptrend started gaining traction even before Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela, and Russia have announced their agreement. Then, around mid-February the “quartel” agreed to freeze their output at January levels…provided that other oil exporters joined in. Though there was no actual commitment made, the effort was enough to boost oil prices above the $42.00 mark.
How can forex traders take advantage of this?
Like in any widely-anticipated forex event, trading the speculations could provide as many good trading opportunities as the event itself. For forex traders, looking at the oil-related Loonie is the best option, followed by other high-yielding currencies that are sensitive to risk sentiment.
If the previous meeting is anything to go by, then we’ll likely see risk appetite in the days leading up to the April meeting. This optimism could continue if the participating countries communicate a convincing plan to address the global oil oversupply issue. On the other hand, we could see profit-taking if the meeting fails to provide any real solution. In any case, y’all better watch your charts closely for any oil-related trends that could pop up as early as today!