Crude oil prices and US stock exchanges 

June WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil (IEZ) (PXI) (FXN) futures contracts are near a one-month low as of April 24, 2017. So far, crude oil prices and broader markets such as the S&P 500 (SPY) (SPX-INDEX) are diverging in 2017. SPY has risen 4.9% YTD (year-to-date). However, WTI crude oil prices have fallen ~11.8% YTD. Meanwhile, WTI crude oil prices have risen ~5.7% in the last 12 months. SPY rose ~12.3% 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.

Crude Oil Prices Fell below 200-Day Moving Average

Crude oil’s highs in the last 15 months 

US crude oil prices settled at $54.45 per barrel on February 23, 2017—the highest level since June 2015. As of April 21, 2017, crude oil prices were 8.9% below their highs.

Key bullish drivers for crude oil in 2017 

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 April 21, 2017, crude oil prices have risen 89.3% from their 2016 lows. Higher crude oil (ERX) (USL) (FXN) prices have a positive impact on oil producers’ earnings such as ConocoPhillips (COP), Swift Energy (SFY), Hess (HES), and Denbury Resources (DNR).

Key bearish drivers for crude oil in 2017 

Crude oil price forecasts 

Crude oil prices are feeling the heat due to the factors mentioned above. Prices are trading below their 20-day, 50-day, 100-day, and 200-day moving averages of $51.4, $52, $53.4, and $51.7 per barrel as of April 21, 2017. The prices suggest more pain for oil prices. Any rise in supplies from the US could pressure crude oil prices.

Meanwhile, Russia’s central bank expects that Brent crude oil prices could fall as low as $40 per barrel by the end of 2017 if OPEC doesn’t extend major producers’ production cut deal in 2H17. 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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