Energy & Commodities

Oil Falls To $20 For First Time In Nearly Two Decades

Oil prices plunged on Monday to their lowest levels in eighteen years, below $20 per barrel, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple global oil demand with no signs of Saudi Arabia backing down on its promised supply surge.

At 11:25 a.m. EDT on Monday, WTI Crude had plunged to the $20 mark—and traded at $20.29, down by 5.67 percent on the day. Brent Crude prices had tumbled below $26—at $25.71, down by 8.01 percent today. Oil prices have lost more than 60 percent so far this year and hit on Monday their lowest level since 2002 as travel restrictions and lockdowns in major economies wipe out millions of barrels of oil per day of global oil demand…CLICK for complete article

World’s Largest Oil Trader Says Demand Could Plummet By 20 Million Bpd

A dramatic change in oil demand coupled with an unexpected increase in production has upended the industry, Vitol’s chief executive Russell Hardy told Bloomberg in an interview.

At its peak, oil demand could slump by 15 to 20 million bpd over the next few weeks. On an annual basis, Hardy said, this would contribute to a demand decline of 5 million bpd.

“It’s pretty huge in terms of anything we’ve had to deal with before,” Vitol’s chief executive said.

More bad news is coming, too. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi just ordered a nationwide lockdown in response to a spike in new coronavirus cases, which, hardy noted, will translate into a further decline in oil demand, and a substantial one, at that.

Asked by Bloomberg about where oil prices will be going from here, Hardy noted that more oil and oil products were being churned out than the world can consume, so stockpiles in the U.S., Europe, and India will rise, with refineries cutting output.

So far, he said, the cuts amount to about 7 million bpd.

Even so, storage is filling up, especially for oil products. While there is some free capacity yet for crude oil, it will likely fill up fast, putting additional pressure on prices…CLICK for complete article

World’s Top Oil Trader: Global Demand To Plunge More Than 10%

Global oil demand is set to plunge by more than 10 percent from the typical 100-million-bpd consumption, as the raging coronavirus pandemic forces countries into lockdown, according to the world’s biggest independent oil trader, Vitol.

“Demand destruction this year depends on how many countries follow an Italian-style lockdown. The drop in Italian consumption has been dramatic. If you extrapolate it to the rest of Europe, and particularly the U.S., then you can get as bearish as you like,” Giovanni Serio, head of research at Vitol, told Reuters on Friday.

According to the executive at the largest oil trader in the world, a 10-percent drop in U.S. demand would mean a 2 million bpd loss in consumption. Currently, an Italy-style lockdown in the United States is not Vitol’s base case, but if Covid-19 infections spiral out of control, there could be drastic measures coming that would destroy a lot of oil demand.

California, for example, is already under lockdown, after ordering on Thursday its 40 million residents to stay at home unless they have an essential reason to go out.

In Europe, lockdowns in Italy, Spain, and France are crushing oil demand, German traffic is down 40 percent, and if the UK takes more measures to curb domestic travel, around 40 percent of Europe’s 7-million-bpd demand is at risk, Vitol’s Serio told Reuters….CLICK for complete article

Russia Can Live With $25 Oil For Years

After oil prices collapsed in the worst drop in nearly three decades—courtesy of the renewed Saudi-Russia rivalry on the oil market – Russia’s Finance Ministry said on Monday that Moscow had enough resources to cover budget shortfalls amid oil prices at $25-30 a barrel for six to ten years.

The price of the Russian export grade Urals dropped to below $42.40 a barrel on Monday as oil prices tumbled by 30 percent…Click here for full article.

Natural Gas Hits Lowest February Price In Two Decades

Warmer winter weather this year has reduced U.S. natural gas demand for heating, and as production growth continues to exceed demand growth, U.S. natural gas prices slumped this month to their lowest February levels in two decades, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Friday.

Natural gas prices at the Henry Hub benchmark closed at $1.77 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on Monday, February 10. This was the lowest closing price for a day in February since at least 2001, according to Bloomberg and FRED data compiled by the EIA. The $1.77 per MMBtu price was also the lowest price in any month in nearly four years—since early March 2016.

Natural gas prices dipped to below US$2 per MMBtu this January for the first time in almost four years. This winter season, the glut is further aggravated by higher gas production in the Permian, higher than normal inventories, and warmer weather so far this winter.

As natural gas production outpaces demand growth, less gas has been withdrawn from underground storage this winter, the EIA said….CLICK for complete article

Bear Run Sends Oil Down For 10th Straight Session

A bear stampede has taken hold of oil markets as the coronavirus plague continues to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) amongst the investing universe. Oil futures slid for a 10th straight session Monday as casualties hit 426 and the number of infections surpassed 20,000.

And now big money managers have joined the stampede as new data reveals the virus is creating severe demand shocks that could further depress prices. Reuters has reported that fund managers and hedge funds were heavy sellers of crude oil and various refined products last week as the worsening outbreak heightened fears of a demand meltdown in China, the world’s leading importer of crude.