Oil prices tumbled to 2 month lows as the war premium ebbed amid apparent signs that the Israel-Hamas conflict will remain contained, bringing demand fears back amid higher rates and a slowing global economy.
Oil’s downward trajectory over the past few days “continues to point to market expectations of a localized conflict,” said Dan Ghali, a commodity strategist at TD Securities.
A bank analysis of geopolitical risk events shows that the premium from a war “tends to fade as soon as one month following the onset of the conflict.”
On the Middle East front, oil traders have “likely shifted into efficient market mode, waiting for signs of a definitive escalation that imperils supply before taking prices higher,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, said in market commentary.
Crude +1.35mm (+500k exp)
Gasoline -357k (-500k exp)
Distillates -2.48mm (-1.9mm exp)
Crude inventories rose modestly more than expected and stocks at the Cushing Hub built, according to API. Products saw inventory draws…
WTI was hovering around $81.30 ahead of the API print, having erased all of the post-Israel gains and posting its first monthly loss in 5 months…
And was little changed after the print…
Signs of lackluster demand have arisen in recent days, with manufacturing in China falling back into contraction this month and BP saying gasoline and diesel markets are oversupplied.
The biggest worry surrounds Iranian oil flows, which could see up to 1 million barrels a day of crude knocked off the market if the U.S. were to more strictly enforce sanctions on the country’s exports, said Warren Patterson and Ewa Manthey, commodity analysts at ING, in a note.
“In the absence of supply disruptions from the region, it is difficult to see a significant and sustained upside in prices,” the ING analysts said.
So far, however, the conflict hasn’t yet affected oil supply.
Still, as MarketWatch reports, the situation in the Middle East is fluid. Saudi Arabia’s military is on high alert after deadly clashes with Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who attempted to fire a missile over Saudi Arabia toward Israel, Bloomberg reported late Monday citing people familiar with the matter.
Strategists at Macquarie wrote in a recent note that they remain bearish on oil, but “recognize upside risks associated with the Middle East conflict.”