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22-06-2017

Get Set For a Return to the $30s, Say Two Oil Experts

Meanwhile, a CNBC analysis suggests another few months of further price drops.

With U.S. crude falling into bear territory on Tuesday, analysts are now openly expecting the next stop is a return to $30 per barrel - with nothing on the horizon apart from a vague hope of a U.S. shale slowdown to suggest a price recovery is imminent.

Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, told Bloomberg television that the Nigerian and Libyan production recoveries have negatively impacted the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) cutback initiative and that the cartel "hasn't done anything" to counter the extra output.

She went on to say that her company is still expecting big stock draws in the summer, "but I don't think sentiment is really paying any attention to forward looking balances right now," and she believes West Texas Intermediate could easily trade in the $30s: "It's like a falling knife, I wouldn't catch it right now; we've had people call us and say this is the worst sentiment they've seen in 20 or 30 years.

"Right now fundamentals don't really matter."

Sen's sentiments are shared by Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit: CNBC quoted him as saying that Tuesday's $42.53 per barrel WTI showing "is not very far from $39," and prices could drop even further before the sell-off ends.

The news agency added that this decline is of special import to U.S. shale producers who can no longer make a profit when oil is below the $40 level.

Meanwhile, CNBC host Jackie DeAngelis noted that "the Libyans are planning to increase and ramp up their production, and the Nigerians are exporting more crude oil ... that's only going to add to the supply glut on our hands."

The notion that the bedlam is temporary is rapidly fading: CNBC also conducted a study to determine how WTI performs after the commodity suffers a 20 percent or more plunge in a six month span, and historical trends indicate "the losses could continue in the coming months," with the only good news being an increase in consumer stocks as cheaper gas prices inspire more spending.

The counter-argument that inventory is dropping and a re-balance is imminent (a view most vigorously expressed by Saudi Arabia) was quashed last week with reports that the amount of oil stored in tankers reached a 2017 high of 111.9 million barrels earlier this month - a sure sign the market has a long way to go before anything resembling healthy supply and demand is achieved.


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