Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day jitters send oil prices slightly lower

Clinton, Trump pick up big wins

Crude oil prices drifted lower in early Tuesday trading as investors fled to safe-haven assets on a U.S. Election Day marked by OPEC market factors.

Crude oil prices, along with major stock indices, moved sharply higher in Monday trading as investors grew confident that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democrats' candidate for president, would beat rival Republican Donald Trump.

Early polling data Tuesday show Clinton with an advantage, though this year's election season has surprised many analysts because of the campaign tenor and the high degree of frustration among American voters.

Trump is politically untested and analysis from S&P Global Platts found crude oil prices lost 15 percent in the days following the first election of Bill Clinton to the White House in the 1990s because he was untested economically. Trump strongly favors increased U.S. oil production and his policies could favor the supply-side trends that helped push crude oil prices below $30 per barrel early this year.

Though U.S. oil production has declined in recent months, suppliers like those in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are producing at or near record levels. In its global outlook report, OPEC said Tuesday demand for its crude oil should improve as the economy stabilizes.

"The demand for OPEC crude expands to 41 million barrels per day by 2040, with the estimated share of OPEC crude in total liquids supply increasing to 37 percent, from 34 percent in 2015," the report said.

The 14-member production group said there should be a relative balance between supply and demand over next two years, but supplies could rebound after 2018.

The price for Brent crude oil was down 0.6 percent in early trading Tuesday to $45.85 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price for oil, was off 0.6 percent from the previous close to $44.61 per barrel.

Speaking from Abu Dhabi, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo offered somewhat competing statements on the market outlook. OPEC members are working to coordinate around a production ceiling proposed in September and he said Thursday that commitments were firm so far.

On the supply side, he said output from non-OPEC members could build through the 2030s, but then start to decline.

"It means that in the long-term it is OPEC that will be required to meet much of the expected additional demand," he said.

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