Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Subscribe now to follow markets, faster and distraction-free. Upgrade now
0
Ad-Free Version. Subscribe now to follow markets, faster and distraction-free. More details

Commodities Week Ahead: Libya Poses New Oil Dilemma; Palladium Eyes $3,000

By Investing.com (Barani Krishnan/Investing.com)CommoditiesJan 21, 2020 04:19
ca.investing.com/analysis/commodities-week-ahead-libya-poses-new-oil-dilemma-palladium-eyes-3000-200433091
Commodities Week Ahead: Libya Poses New Oil Dilemma; Palladium Eyes $3,000
By Investing.com (Barani Krishnan/Investing.com)   |  Jan 21, 2020 04:19
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 

Two weeks after oil appeared to have survived its biggest risk test in years, Libya has tossed a new political grenade at the market. And this too may come to pass.

It’s a different story in precious metals, however, with palladium keeping to its explosive streak and likely to target $3,000 an ounce next.

Libya, which sent crude prices back above $100 a barrel just a year after the financial crisis when the Arab Spring of 2010 ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi, is back at the oil market’s forefront.

But traders don’t seem unduly worried about the threat Libya poses, possibly because their attention is now more on the monstrous builds in U.S. fuel stockpiles over the past two weeks.

Supply Crunch Threat

Talk swirled on Tuesday that Libya’s oil output could soon fall to 72,000 barrels per day from a regular 1.2 million bpd. The crunch is due to a blockade on oil shipments out of the North African state forced by Khalifa Haftar, a Libyan warlord that Tripoli’s internationally-recognized government says could become the next Gaddafi.

The Libyan threat comes exactly 14 days after the United States and Iran retreated from the brink of war, leaving the Middle East, which produces 40% of the world’s oil, at relative peace.

Yet the calm that followed the Jan. 6 rocket launches by Tehran at American air bases in Iraq — after the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani — may be questionable. There were reports of two more rockets landing outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad on Monday, although again, there were no reports of casualties.

In Libya's case, analysts estimate that at least 800,000 barrels per day may have been disrupted since Saturday, including 300,000 bpd from El Sharara, its biggest oilfield. Libya’s National Oil Corp had declared force majeure, or a waiver on contractual obligations, on crude loadings from El Sharara and the El Feel oilfield in the country’s southwest.

Libya Could Be Game Changer For Oil … Yet Might Not

The Libyan situation could be a game changer for oil, if allowed to persist.

Yet, at the time of writing, Brent, the global benchmark for crude, was down 17 cents, or 0.3%, to $58.41 in Tuesday’s Asian trading.

Brent Futures Weekly Prices
Brent Futures Weekly Prices

West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude, was off 34 cents, or 0.5%, at $64.86.

WTI Futures Weekly Prices
WTI Futures Weekly Prices

"Every time we get a big geopolitical event, the market spikes up but everybody looks at that as a chance of a selling opportunity," Tony Nunan, oil risk manager at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo, was quoted saying by Reuters.

Prices could rise when New York crude traders come on during their day as U.S. markets reopen after the long weekend and Martin Luther King holiday.

More Worries Now Over Monstrous U.S. Fuel Builds

Yet there’s a good possibility the Libyan risk may continue to be underpriced after builds of 15.7 million barrels in U.S. gasoline stockpiles and 13.8 million in Distillates inventories over the past two weeks — versus expectations of 5.8 million and 5 million, respectively.

Further weighing on crude prices was the oil rig count published on Friday by industry firm Baker Hughes, that showed drillers adding 14 rigs last week to bring the total number across U.S. oil fields to 673. A higher rig count, in the simplest sense, means higher crude production. Over the past two weeks, the rig count had fallen, extending last year’s drop of 208.

“The market has shifted to a baseline with a modestly bearish outlook and a reluctance to price in risk in the manner it previously has,” Greg Priddy, director of global energy and the Middle East for political risk consultancy Stratfor, said in a note just before the weekend.

Gold Back Above $1,560

On the precious metals front, gold is back above the key $1,560 level as markets question the potential success of the $200 billion U.S.-China deal, which leaves both nations retaining tariffs imposed on each other prior to the agreement.

Gold prices also rose on Tuesday as a hedge against the International Monetary Fund’s gloomy global outlook for 2020.

U.S. gold futures, as well as spot gold, which tracks live trades in bullion, were both above $1,566 at the time of writing.

Gold Futures Weekly Prices
Gold Futures Weekly Prices

“Following a noteworthy positioning squeeze, the yellow metal is creeping higher once again,” TD Securities said in a note about gold, adding:

“Along with positive expectations for growth comes the potential for inflation to creep higher, and without a commensurate Fed response, this would translate into lower real rates.”

The Federal Reserve cut rates by a quarter percent point for three months back-to-back in 2019, before bringing that easing cycle to a halt in December. With U.S. economic data mostly upbeat now, analysts do not expect the central bank to embark on a new round of cuts unless the trade war recurs.

Palladium In A World Of Its Own

But it’s palladium that’s really scorching the headlines in precious metals after its spot price shattered the $2,500 ceiling last week. That’s a 30% gain since the start of the year.

The palladium story is the same as last year: there’s barely any new supply of the autocatalyst metal to sell on the market, say traders.

Palladium Spot Weekly Prices
Palladium Spot Weekly Prices

Some say a palladium crash will come at some point, especially if supply stabilizes out of the main centers, South Africa and Russia.

“The dynamics are so strong. Nobody can tell me that this is just fundamentals,” Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch told Bloomberg last week of the palladium rally. Said Fritsch:

“This is already becoming a bubble.”

Palladium was the best-performing commodity in 2019, with its spot price gaining 55%. Spot palladium is already up 30% year-to-date, hitting an all-time high above $2,584 on Tuesday.

At Investing.com, our next major target for palladium is $3,000.

Commodities Week Ahead: Libya Poses New Oil Dilemma; Palladium Eyes $3,000
 

Related Articles

Andy Hecht
What’s Wrong With Gold? By Andy Hecht - Mar 01, 2021

This article was written exclusively for Investing.comCommodities rising to new highs daily Gold lagging other precious metals Gold is resting, consolidating, and preparing for its...

Peter Krauth
A Golden Election Promise By Peter Krauth - Nov 03, 2020 1

There’s no shortage of prognostications or conjecture about the U.S. election. Of course, everyone has an opinion. Some like red, some like blue, some like neither. Last week’s...

Commodities Week Ahead: Libya Poses New Oil Dilemma; Palladium Eyes $3,000

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email