Energy traders were not surprised to see the oil price rally slow down. WTI crude fell after a surprise build with US stockpiles and following a bloodbath on Wall Street that sent risky assets into freefall. Crude prices may not have a one-way ticket to $100 oil, but the supply-side fundamentals certainly support that could happen by the summer. The next few trading sessions could be difficult for energy traders as oil prices may move more so on investor positioning ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC policy decision and over a handful of brewing geopolitical risks, that include Russia-Ukraine tensions, Iran nuclear talks, and developments with global handling over North Korea.
The crude demand outlook is also providing steadily positive support for oil prices throughout the rest of the year. Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch, noted, “Absent any further COVID-related disruption, oil demand is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels before the end of the year and to further strengthen in 2023.” The oil market should remain very tight and if we have any disruptions to productions, that should easily send prices much higher.
Gold prices edged lower as commodities got punished after Wall Street entered into a major de-risking mode. Normally gold performs well when Treasury yields drop, but today was all about going back to cash. Earnings have underwhelmed and fears of how the economy will handle higher interest rates has many investors concerned that risky assets could continue to slide further next week.
Given that large parts of the economy will still perform well this year despite higher borrowing costs, gold will eventually find the right balance of becoming both a safe-haven and inflation hedge. Gold most likely won’t be vulnerable to an excessive panic-selling market selloff given how strong the economy is positioned, so if prices can break past the $1850 barrier post-Fed, the path to $1900 should be there.
Bitcoin has quickly gone from a consolidation pattern to the house of pain. The world’s largest crypto plunged as crypto traders de-risk portfolios following the bloodbath in stocks and in advance of next week’s FOMC policy meeting. Risky assets did not stand a chance today and momentum selling accelerated after Bitcoin broke below $40,000 level. Bitcoin remains in the danger zone and if $37,000 breaks, there is not much support until the $30,000 level.