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What to Expect from Crude Oil in 2017

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 2:27 p.m. ET

Crude oil prices and US stock exchanges 

WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil (RYE) (IXC) (IEZ) futures for May delivery are near a four-month low as of March 27, 2017. So far, crude oil prices and broader markets such as the S&P 500 (SPY) (SPX-INDEX) are diverging in 2017. SPY rose 4.7 YTD (year-to-date). However, crude oil prices fell 14.6% YTD. Meanwhile, US crude oil prices rose ~8.1% in the last 12 months. SPY had risen ~15.1% during the same period. So, bullish momentum in the US stock market could partially support oil prices. For more on crude oil prices, read Part 1 of this series.

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Crude oil’s highs in the last 15 months 

US WTI crude oil prices settled at $54.45 per barrel on February 23, 2017—the highest level since June 2015. As of March 24, 2017, crude oil prices were 11.9% below their high.

Key bullish drivers for crude oil in 2017  

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Crude oil’s lows in the last 15 months  

US crude oil settled at $26.21 per barrel on February 11, 2016. Crude oil prices hit a 13-year low due to the following factors:

As of March 24, 2017, crude oil prices have risen 83% from their 2016 lows. Higher crude oil (FENY) (SCO) (USO) prices have a positive impact on oil producers’ earnings such as Occidental Petroleum (OXY), Carrizo Oil & Gas (CRZO), Whiting Petroleum (WLL), and PDC Energy (PDCE).

Key bearish drivers for crude oil in 2017 

  • rise in US crude oil rigs to an 18-month high
  • record US crude oil inventories
  • rise in US crude oil production
  • near record-OECD crude oil inventories
  • expectation of a rise in crude oil production from IranIraq, and Libya 

Crude oil price forecasts 

Crude oil prices could collapse due to the factors mentioned above. Crude oil prices are trading below their 200-day moving averages. BTU Analytics thinks that if OPEC doesn’t extend major oil producers’ production cut deal, we could see oil prices breaking below $40 per barrel in the short term. Crude oil prices fell ~12% in the last month. If prices fall another 8%, they might enter a bear market. For more on crude oil price forecasts, read the last part of the series.

In the next part of the series, we’ll look at how Cushing crude oil inventories impact crude oil prices.

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