Oil Dives To 20 Year Low

Fiona Cincotta
By :  ,  Market Analyst

Oil is extending its decline, dropping to the lowest level in two decades on fears that the world is running out of places to store crude, as demand is crushed. Output cuts have clearly proved to be insufficient to cope with plummeting demand amid coronavirus lock down.

Despite losing 1/5th of its value last week after the OPEC+ cuts failed to counter the coronavirus demand hit, oil has tanked again. Storage, particularly in at the Cushing hub in Oklahoma is running so low that fears are growing that some US producers will soon be forced to pay customers to take oil from them. Currently buyers of WTI are offering as little as $2 per barrel for some oil streams. Stockpiles at Cushing have increased close to 50% to 55 million barrels since the end of February. The site has working storage capacity of 76 million barrels.

More cuts coming?

The 9.7 million barrels per day OPEC+ cuts are paling in comparison with the demand hit. Estimates are that global demand has been slashed by a third. The reality is that demand will not pick up until lock downs across the globe are eased – we are still a few weeks off that yet. It wouldn’t be surprising if the OPEC+ group decided to act again sooner rather than later in an attempt to put a floor under the price of oil, something they have failed to do so far.

Lock downs need to ease

Overnight the US WTI oil benchmark plunged by as much as 21% to $14.47 a barrel, its lowest level since 1999. The price has since picked up and is trading -17% at $15.23 amid some signs of optimism; New York coronavirus deaths eased and some European countries are slowly opening their economies or at least are putting exit strategies in place.

Whilst the soft oil prices are unsurprisingly weighing on oil majors on the open, other firms, such as travel firms would benefit from the lower oil prices, however with these sectors are still in paralyses, the benefit wont be felt for some time. That said the softer oil prices will help these firms as they ramp up after the lock down.

Levels to watch

Oil trades below its 50 and 20 sma on the 4-hour chart – a bearish chart. Immediate support can be seen at $14.67 the overnight low. After this round number $14 could offer support.

Resistance can be seen at $18.05 (overnight high) prior to $19.1 (20 sma) and $20.50 (16th April).

Market chart highlighting how oil prices have hit a 20 year low. Analysed in April 2020

Related tags: Oil Coronavirus OPEC

Open an account in minutes

Experience award-winning platforms with fast and secure execution.

Web Trader platform

Our sophisticated web-based platform is packed with features.

Economic Calendar