Oil's free-fall is far from being over.
We’ll see if the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $54-$55 per barrel support zone has any meaning this time around as all the earlier support zones on the way down have been taken out without any significant resistance.
For those investors/speculators who want to “test the waters,” they could do that by buying some options in that price zone. I would refrain until the situation clears up.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi has often said his country hasn't embarked on an oil-price war. I must say I don’t believe him, but that is strictly my personal opinion.
Anyway, to me it is clear that Saudi Arabia is determined to defend its market share and is prepared to do whatever it takes to curtail significantly the rise of non-OPEC supply and the supply coming from the U.S., where production is set to surpass 9 million barrels per day (b/d) this month.
If the Saudis will succeed remains an open question.
To put the Saudi’s standpoint in context, U.S. oil production since 2008 is up from an average 5 million b/d to 8.57 million b/d (estimated) in 2014. Total U.S. production in 2015 could average 9.42 million barrels per day.
This means that oil prices could still go substantially lower amid the supply/demand imbalances among the various big and influential players. This could take 6 to 12 months, or even more. The interesting question will become: “Who will give in first?”
I think it still could be too early to step in. I’d wait until there is "blood in the streets," but we aren’t there yet. In case we reach such a situation, which of course isn't for sure, then that moment could easily become one of these rare opportunities to engage in a real long-term oil investment. Please keep in mind that long-term doesn’t mean forever, but it could come close to that.
Please keep also in mind that very low oil prices, if we come to that, will have positive as well as negative consequences. Low prices should stimulate growth in many places in the world (including the U.S., the EU, China, Japan, etc.), but they could also fuel geopolitical conflicts.
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