If any commodity has proven to be volatile this year it’s oil. After a two-year plunge that took the black gold from well above $100 a barrel to the mid $20s just a few months ago, things seem to be stabilizing. However the tug-of-war on Wall Street over production and demand continues, and on any given day crude spot prices can jump or sink big.
24/7 Wall Street has great relationships across Wall Street, and some of the top traders usually have a good idea of what’s going on as they get color from their specific desks on action up or down in stocks and commodities. Friday we got a market color blast from one of the firms we cover with some of the reasons for the big surge in oil.
Note that these are just reasons for the move higher, and not a suggestion that this move should necessarily be bought.
- The Keystone Pipeline reported a leak Thursday that may be limiting the flow to the Cushing oil storage tank farms. It appears the pipeline will not be back in service Friday.
- There was a fire reported at Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) Baytown refinery late Thursday.
- A headline hit the tape that the number of U.S.-bound very large crude carriers has fallen to a four-week low.
- Reports are surfacing that Brazil’s oil production for February was down 120,000 barrels per day due to lower output in the Campos basin.
- Carry over from Wednesday’s bullish EIA data that showed U.S. production has dropped by 14,000 barrels per day.
- There is more optimism about a potential production freeze at the April 17 OPEC meeting in Doha.
- Short covering is something that can spike prices super-fast as hedge funds cover against a rising price.
- The Baker Hughes rig count has continued to slide, with the number dropping to 362 as of last week. That compares with 1,609 rigs that were operating in October of 2014.
Needless to say, that is a plethora of reasons for oil to jump, and against a backdrop like this, one thing is for sure. The traders who have been shorting oil are getting out of the way as the commodity surges much higher. As of 10:25 Eastern, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) spot price was at $39.36, up a stunning 5.64%. That will change as the day wears on.