The other side of the short-term volatility in oil markets, as discussed yesterday, is that price movements are still trapped in their long-term triangle pattern.
As the chart shows, Tuesday’s $3/bbl move was not part of a break-out to new high ground. In fact, Brent’s prices remain within the same $99/bbl – $127/bbl range they have occupied all year.
The triangle highlights the continuing battle between the bulls, led by the high-frequency traders, and the bears, led by those who focus on fundamentals of supply and demand.
The bulls are making ever-more desperate efforts to push prices higher. But news that OPEC was maintaining current output quotas was clearly bearish. So is the fact that demand is clearly slowing in all major regions.
Of course, some major event might well arrive to force prices higher. If Iran blocked the Strait of Hormuz, they might reach $200/bbl, given the importance of those shipping lanes for world crude oil movements.
The blog will continue to monitor developments very closely, given the importance of the outcome.