Investing.com - Oil prices fell for the first time in nine days after a rally that many analysts said was overdone. But the drop of less than 1% was barely commensurate with the 12% gain of the past eight sessions, suggesting the market may have more to lose after exhausting its upside momentum.
“I think the markets are vulnerable to a pullback,” Scott Shelton, crude analyst for ICAP (LON: NXGN ) in Durham, North Carolina, said in the brokerage’s daily note on energy.
“I think (the) flat price can drop $5,” he said, referring to the spot prices for U.S. West Texas Intermediate and U.K. Brent crude. Shelton conceded that there were not a lot of bearish factors to generate a fundamental view for lower prices. “But I am not sure that matters,” he added. “To me, it’s all about timing. It’s about money flow.”
Some said the run-up will continue. “Oil prices are stalling, yes, taking a rest after its best bull run in 2 years,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Chicago’s Price Futures Group. “But this has been a story of OPEC cuts balancing the market and the sense of a new oil supercycle as an investment is being shut down due to a global green energy push.”
Oil’s marathon rally was sparked and sustained by a combination of factors. It began with the November breakthrough in vaccines for the Covid-19, followed up by OPEC leader Saudi Arabia’s announcement of deeper production cuts in January; commodity-index linked buying of oil, sizable weekly drops in U.S. crude stockpiles and hopes for economic stimulus from the Biden administration.
At Thursday’s settlement, New York-traded WTI was down 44 cents, or 0.8%, at $58.24 per barrel. It had gained 12.4% in eight days prior, hitting $59.81, its highest since January 2020, on Wednesday. The last time WTI had such a long winning-streak was in January 2019.
London-traded Brent , the global benchmark for crude, settled down 33 cents, or 0.5%, at $61.14, after setting a 13-month high of $61.69 in the previous session. Brent had gained 10.7% over nine previous sessions, its longest run-up also since January 2019.
Many analysts, as well as industry executives from Vitol and Gunvor, had expressed caution over the rally.
Technical chartists repeatedly referred to the breach of the Relative Strength Indicator metric for WTI, which remained overbought after Thursday’s mild correction.
Mike Muller, the Asian head for Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, said at the weekend that the market was “getting ahead of itself in terms of a post-vaccine euphoria.”
Torbjorn Tornqvist, chief executive at Gunvor, another large independent oil trader, feared that crude prices sustained at beyond $60 a barrel might trigger an avalanche of shuttered supply that would ultimately suppress the market.
Some analysts also expressed concerns that while U.S. crude stockpiles had fallen sharply over the past four weeks, adding to the oil rally, much of that has turned up as gasoline inventories that now had to find consumers.
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