As Barclays recently noted, there is a complete decoupling between futures and physical markets for crude oil and nowhere is that more evident than the high volume spike in crude that just happened after Saudi Arabia boosted crude production for a second month to the highest level in at least three decades, helping to raise OPEC output as U.S. growth showed signs of slowing.
As Bloomberg reports,
Saudi Arabia boosted crude production for a second month to the highest level in at least three decades, helping to raise OPEC output as U.S. growth showed signs of slowing.
The Middle Eastern country increased daily crude output by 13,700 barrels in April to an average of 10.308 million, according to data the country communicated to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ secretariat in Vienna.
Prices collapsed by almost half last year as Saudi Arabia led OPEC in maintaining production rather than cede market share to booming U.S. output. The group has become more unified about keeping its daily output target of 30 million barrels because prices are now rising, according to Kuwait’s oil minister. Oil in New York has surged more than 40 percent from its March low amid as U.S. drillers pulled a record number of rigs from fields.
“The Saudis must be content that their policy of protecting their market share has worked so well and prices did not stay below $50 for long,” said Christopher Bellew, senior broker at Jefferies International Ltd. in London, who had not seen the report. “They held their nerve and now see a stable market with their share preserved.”
OPEC maintained projections for supply growth from oil producers outside the group in 2015 at 680,000 barrels a day. It also kept its 2015 estimate for demand for the group’s crude at 29.3 million barrels a day. That’s about 1.5 million barrels a day less than the group produced in April.
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And so the machines rip crude prices higher... but as is clear, there is plenty going on...
As Barclays noted, there is a huge disconnect between price action in physical markets where differentials are signalling oversupply and futures markets where all looks rosy. Financial drivers have been key in this commodity rally, with short-covering driving part of it, but fresh longs being drawn in. Net speculative length in Brent crude has doubled since the start of the year to its highest level since data collection began in 2011.