Oil Prices Retreat On Reports Of Imminent SPR Release

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Nov 22, 2021 - 04:55 PM

Update (1145ET): Shortly after suggestions that OPEC+ might retaliate if, Bloomberg reports that, according to people familiar with the plan, President Biden is preparing to announce a release of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in concert with several other countries as soon at Tuesday

That headline was enough to send prices lower (but are still up on the day)...

The US SPR stands at its lowest since 2003 (as it has seen pre-arranged exchange sales reduce its level this year already quite significantly).

While Bloomberg also suggests the release is likely in conjunction with India, Japan and South Korea, JPMorgan believes that a global coordinated reserve release is "highly unlikely."

For now we expect gas prices to drop in the short-term as the lag in the supply-chain from crude to the pump implies some built-in reduction...

But, if OPEC+'s threat response plays out with higher prices, those lower gas prices will prove 'transitory'.

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In an apparent 'threat' response to headlines suggesting the Biden administration is attempting to coordinate a global SPR release to push down oil prices (and following reports from Japanese media that the government is preparing to release crude from its strategic stockpiles), the Riyadh-based International Energy Forum said OPEC+ may change its plan for raising oil output if consuming nations sell petroleum reserves or the coronavirus pandemic worsens.

“I anticipate OPEC+ energy ministers will maintain their current plan of adding more supplies to the market gradually,” IEF Secretary-General Joseph McMonigle said in a statement Monday after a meeting with a Japanese foreign ministry official about recent volatility in energy markets.

“However, certain unforeseen external factors such as a release of strategic reserves or new lockdowns in Europe may prompt a reassessment of market conditions.”

Critically, this confirms much of what we have written about how any coordinated SPR release (however unlikely that is in and of itself) that any increase in supply will be met by action from OPEC+ moving to not hike outputs as previously planned - thus perhaps helping prices in the short-term, but raising them longer-term.

For now, oil traders are undecided at what this news means...