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Crude Oil Prices Are Steady at $40 per Barrel

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Price channel

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil futures contracts for October delivery settled above $40 per barrel for the third day in a row. Prices have been trading in a downward price channel since the last week of June 2015. The inventory data and oversupply concerns drove crude oil prices in yesterday’s trade.

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Support and resistance

The long-term massive supplies, record global inventories, and the strong dollar could drag crude oil prices lower. The key support for crude oil prices is seen at $38 per barrel. Prices hit this mark in February 2009. In contrast, lower crude oil prices could increase imports from India and South Korea. This could support crude oil prices. The next resistance for crude oil prices is seen at $50 per barrel. Prices tested this mark in August 2015.

US crude oil prices could average around $49 per barrel in 2015 and $54 per barrel in 2016, according to the EIA’s (U.S. Energy Information Administration) estimates. In contrast, Citigroup estimates that crude oil prices might hit $32 per barrel in the short term. The trading channel suggests that crude oil prices could average between $33 per barrel and $43 per barrel in the short term.

Speculations of nuclear power plants restarting in Japan could also play a vital role in dragging oil prices lower. Japan is the third largest consumer of crude oil. Japan shut down most of its nuclear power plants due to the earthquake and tsunami alerts in 2011.

Rising crude oil prices benefit ETFs like the ProShares Ultra Short Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (SCO). In contrast, ETFs like the Velocity Shares 3X Long Crude ETN (UWTI) benefit from falling crude oil prices.

Upstream players like Newfield Exploration (NFX), Noble Energy (NBL), and Devon Energy (DVN) benefit from rising crude oil prices. Combined, they account for 3.65% of the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE). These companies’ crude oil production is greater than 41% of their total production.

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