Tags: Oil | Dip | 90 | Barrel

Oil Could Dip Well Below $90 a Barrel — Survey

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 07:06 AM EDT

Oil prices could dip well below their current levels of just over $91 a barrel — possibly down to around $84 a barrel — if U.S. jobs data come up short, a CNBC survey shows.

Oil prices have been falling thanks to cooling economies in Europe and China as well as on easing tensions between the West and Iran over the latter's nuclear ambitions.

U.S. monthly jobs reports have disappointed in March and April, suggesting recovery remains fragile, which have knocked prices down to $91 from over $110 in early March.

Editor's Note: Sept. 18 Cover-Up Is a Final Turning for America

Slumping jobs numbers depict a slumping economy, and a slumping economy requires less oil and fuels to grow, thus prices drop.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, meanwhile, will release May unemployment figures on Friday, and fresh disappointments will send prices to as low as $84, the survey finds, while surprises on the upside will set a floor and halt further losses.

Ten out of the 11 respondents in the CNBC survey, however, see prices falling, as European uncertainty will bring out the bears.

"Right now, I continue to expect a general 'risk-off' or 'short the world' attitude," Tom Weber of Portfolio Managers, Inc. Commodity Futures & Options, tells CNBC.

Weak jobs numbers often spark talk of quantitative easing (QE), a Federal Reserve monetary stimulus tool that jolts the economy via liquidity injections.

As a side effect, the dollar weakens and oil often climbs as investors look for alternatives to dollar positions.

Don't expect that to happen if May's numbers disappoint, Weber says.

The market won't react unless the Fed strongly suggests that monetary easing is on the way.

"I won't underestimate the ability of the political elite to save the day with pronouncements and promises of solidarity. I believe traders have adapted to a 'show me' approach to global markets. The market is going to call the bluff of central bankers regarding QE."

Some experts, however, see the Iran factor returning and oil prices climbing.

Delegates from the U.S., U.K., China, France, and Russia and Germany recently hit an impasse in talks with Iranian officials to diffuse a standoff involving Iran's nuclear plans.

The West has accused Iran of enriching uranium to build nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies, insisting its nuclear program aims to serve the country's energy needs.

Oil prices fell when Iran agreed to come to the negotiating table in May although talks recently ended largely in stalemate save an agreement to continue discussions in June, according to Reuters.

Iran has threatened to cut off oil supply from the Middle East to the world in the past, and may do so again if nuclear disclosure talks break down.

"It doesn't require a huge understanding of international politics to read Iranian tactics on the nuclear issue, and it was probably naive to think at the beginning of last week that any agreement between Iran and world powers was even remotely possible," says Tamas Varga, an analyst at brokers PVM Oil Associates, according to the AFP newswire.

Editor's Note: Sept. 18 Cover-Up Is a Final Turning for America

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012 07:06 AM
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