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Oil Below $110 as U.S. Recession Fear Strikes at Energy Rally

Commodities Jun 17, 2022 03:51PM ET
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© Reuters.

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com -- Is this the selloff that the cooler heads in the oil market have been talking about?

Crude prices tumbled some 7% on Friday alone, with the weekly loss even larger, at around 9%. The plunge came amid widespread fear that the United States was headed for a recession from the triple whammy of weakening macroeconomic data, inflation unyielding at 40-year highs and a Fed determined to break the back of that with equally risque rate hikes.

“Recessions are increasingly likely as central banks race to dramatically raise rates before inflation spirals out of control,” Craig Erlam, analyst at online trading platform OANDA, said as the European Central Bank indicated three big rate hikes as well for 2022. “It is better than the alternative though; stagflation.” 

While the world, particularly the United States, was not yet in a stagflationary environment, where prices keeps rising while the economy continues falling, the term has “been thrown around way too much in recent months, which perhaps highlights the trepidation around it,” Erlam said.

“The risk of one is rising, which is why central banks are becoming increasingly accepting of their actions tipping the economy into recession,” he added.

The last straw for investors in an overly-bought oil market on Friday appeared to be a fifth monthly drop in U.S. factory output, as firms struggled with supply-chain bottlenecks and high costs, despite industrial production itself gaining.

The Fed’s divisional chief for Minneapolis, Neel Kashkari, meanwhile warned that the central bank might need to get more aggressive with interest rates if US inflation doesn't retreat from four-decade highs. 

That was a sign that June’s three-quarter percentage point increase — the largest in 28 years — could be followed up by more major hikes, despite Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s assurance earlier this week that there will be no more super-sized hikes this year and that rate cuts could actually come as early as 2024.

The U.S. economy has already shown a negative growth of 1.4% for the first quarter. If it does not return to the positive by the second quarter, the United States will technically be in a recession, given that it takes just two straight quarters of negative growth to be in recession. 

Responding to that fear, New York-traded West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude, settled down $8.03, or 6.8%, at $109.56 per barrel. For the week, WTI was down almost 9%, for its first weekly loss since April.

London-traded Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, settled down $6.69, or 5.6%, at $113.12. For the week, Brent tumbled more than 7% for its first weekly drop as well in two months.

WTI surged earlier this week to a three-month peak of $123.18, its highest since the March run-up to almost $130 right after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Brent reached $125.16, after the March peak, which itself was the highest in 14 years.

While the Ukraine invasion and subsequent Western sanctions on major energy exporter Russia had definitely exacerbated the global tightness in crude supplies, this year’s rally in oil was beyond the affordability of many poor, consuming nations, say analysts.

In the United States, the best gauge of public burden from the rally was the pump price of gasoline, or petrol, that exceeded $5 a gallon for the first time since last week. Many pumps in the U.S., especially those in West Coast states like California, were selling at close to $6 a gallon, the American Automobile Association said. Diesel was even higher in California, at beyond $7 a gallon.

“It’s nuts, what the bulls have been doing,” said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital. 

“I know we have a global deficit in oil but seriously, how much more do you want consumers to pay?” said Kilduff. “There is a limit to the supply tightness hype. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be hearing cries of ‘oversold’ from the other side after this and we could jump a couple of dollars or more after the weekend. But this is a good reminder that there are still some sane heads in the market examining all the macroeconomic data that’s coming in, and reacting accordingly.”

Among that “other side” was Goldman Sachs' chief commodities analyst Jeff Currie, who’s stood out as Wall Street’s chief cheerleader for oil in calling for even higher crude prices before any real demand destruction could set in.

Other oil bulls also remained unperturbed by Friday’s selloff. 

“Unless the economy goes into a total meltdown, those drops in prices should be opportunities to put on long-term bullish positions,” said Phil Flynn, analyst at Chicago’s Price Futures Group, who pointed out that the demand for oil during most recessions had not fallen by more than 2%. 

 

Oil Below $110 as U.S. Recession Fear Strikes at Energy Rally
 

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Comments (13)
Imre Zsombor Varga
Imre Zsombor Varga Jun 18, 2022 10:51PM ET
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Whoever takes the oil supports Russia. He wants to impoverish the poor. think OIL 50$ pt
nick cage
nick cage Jun 18, 2022 10:51PM ET
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oil will hit 200 before 50
Balaji TJ
Balaji TJ Jun 17, 2022 7:26PM ET
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if oil price were in control below $90 for the last 2 quarters we wouldn't be in this situation. Oil is ridiculously putting pressure on the economy
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Jun 17, 2022 7:26PM ET
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Totally, Balaji.
nick cage
nick cage Jun 17, 2022 7:26PM ET
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look at imports. it's because the government spent to much money
Al Ose
Al Ose Jun 17, 2022 6:02PM ET
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I need a gutter trash date this weekend. Where is that FB crypto advisor?
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Jun 17, 2022 6:02PM ET
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LOL!
noobmodern88 noobmodern88
noobmodern88 noobmodern88 Jun 17, 2022 5:37PM ET
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The real reason its down because option contract expired today will see if the new option contract manipulate this to the downside or upside since this few week  its manipulate to  the upside this time will manipulate to the downside this next few week
Devin Nathaniel
Devin Nathaniel Jun 17, 2022 5:37PM ET
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so inflation is manipulate too.....
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Jun 17, 2022 5:37PM ET
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but will likely manipulate to the downside, after manipulating to the manipulation side, immediately.
Jared Magnums
Jared Magnums Jun 17, 2022 4:52PM ET
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I come to the comment section to lose brain cells…
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Jun 17, 2022 4:52PM ET
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Well, many oil bulls need some to begin with ...
Andrew Ulferts
Andrew Ulferts Jun 17, 2022 4:52PM ET
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Barani Krishnan Oil bulls are some of the smartest people on the planet right now. We’ve seen this coming since 2020, you did not. Go back and read through all of your bearish posts and articles since March 2020. And we are still able to read the tea leaves through all of the fake news narratives and see that this super cycle is just beginning. Muh, recession…. For the last 6 years. Words can’t stop what’s coming.
Ted Dirty
DirtyTed Jun 17, 2022 3:45PM ET
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Venezuela opened the tap. Libya is next...
Atlantic Coast Money
Atlantic Coast Money Jun 17, 2022 3:23PM ET
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Wrong! Recession canceled. Saudi prince will start pumping as the Dems have certainly sweetened the deal. He said no last time. After Elon’s tweet promoting a red wave, they realized that they had to tackle inflation to be able to claim a sole achievement for the midterms. Either way they are toast, but they can’t see past their own noses. Lesko Brandon. Red wave underway. Headline should read: Desperate Dems and Demented Joe Make Last Attempt
dar dar
dar dar Jun 17, 2022 2:29PM ET
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I don't know how come I see everything like it really is applied deficits of everything can actually expand but then again the experts know better
Randall Paul
Randall Paul Jun 17, 2022 2:22PM ET
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The biden economy. Sweet! good job Joe. you are stellar. haha. I don't care if market go up or down. traders still reap it
Show previous replies (5)
Shane Gg
Shane Gg Jun 17, 2022 2:22PM ET
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Barani Krishnan  Ds can't make peace with Saudis, it will ruin their plans with Iran.
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Jun 17, 2022 2:22PM ET
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Shane Gg  I don't think there's a plan with the Mullahs. That was in the backpocket in case the one with Riyadh didn't work. So, we'll have to see where the July meet goes.
CS Greer
CSGreer Jun 17, 2022 2:22PM ET
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Fossil fuels will never end. Over 3,000 products are made with petroleum, not just gasoline and diesel. We'll all be destroyed by wars before oil sees the last barrel pumped out of the ground.
CS Greer
CSGreer Jun 17, 2022 2:22PM ET
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I mean the nuclear deal with Iran... The Ds have a real hard time letting O's nuclear deal go. That's why they hate Sauds so much since O was elected. They can't play both sides but now Biden has no choice but reluctantly *******up to the Saudis.
Randall Paul
Randall Paul Jun 17, 2022 2:22PM ET
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better start gearing upfor hemp procucts then. oil is not just for gas
emad hijazi
emad hijazi Jun 17, 2022 2:16PM ET
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today I placed long order. fingers crossed 🤞
Barani Krishnan
Barani Krishnan Jun 17, 2022 2:16PM ET
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you should have waited for below $90
 
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