Phil Flynn
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Phil Flynn

Phil Flynn is writer of The Energy Report, a daily market commentary discussing oil, the Middle East, American government, economics, and their effects on the world's energies markets, as well as other commodity markets. Contact Mr. Flynn at (888) 264-5665

Strong dollar or weak dollar, take your pick. The dollar took a break last week after President Donald Trump said that the dollar was too strong. U S. Treasury Secretary Steven Munchkin told the Financial Times a strong dollar was a positive in the long term. Overall this did not help the mood of the commodity sector that is acting like it had too many Easter eggs. Both precious metals and industrial metals are taking a hit and that is not helping oil as the market sells off in a light volume frenzy.

Talk about rising U.S. oil output also dampened the market mood but the truth is, the increase in U.S. oil output is still just a small offset to ongoing and serious U.S. oil production cuts. Reuters reported that the latest U.S. government drilling data showed shale production in May was set to rise to 5.19 million barrels per day (bpd), with output from the Permian play, the largest U.S. shale region, expected to reach a record 2.36 million bpd. The estimates for a combined 124,000 barrels-per-day growth in U.S. shale production over May is nice but far short of what a determined OPEC is bringing to the plate. As I have been saying for months, OPEC and non-OPEC cuts and strong demand will overshadow U.S. shale increases over time.

Others are seeing the light and are now agreeing with me. Reuters is reporting that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is backing oil and says it will probably rally to the mid-$60s by the end of the year. City analysts Ed Morse and Seth Kleinman are also now on board writing that, “While U.S. shale output may come “roaring back” amid higher crude prices, production curbs by OPEC and its allies should help offset that increase over the next six to nine months.” We of course, long ago wrote that the OPEC/non-OPEC accord was a game changer and that not only would they do a deal but they would also comply. While non-OPEC compliance has been a bit slow, it is moving in the right direction and with global demand on the rise, prices are poised to move higher. We still believe that oil is at a long  term generational bottom that was established a year ago and current conditions will see a significant tightening of supply in the coming months driving up prices.

While oil prices are struggling today the impact on overall supply and its reductions cannot be under estimated. If you don’t believe me just go to the gas pump. Gas prices have gone up 20 days in a row! AAA put yesterday’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.41. This price is up two cents from last week and up 12 cents more than one month ago. Year over year gas prices are 30 cents higher than a year ago.

China is back in the oil game. Reuter’s is reporting that China is looking at launching its crude oil futures in Shanghai in the second half of this year. Two sources familiar with the matter said Shanghai’s International Energy Exchange (INE) last year was close to launching the futures contract which was approved in 2014 after years of planning, but its plans were shelved after volatility in domestic stock and commodities markets spooked regulators. The sources were unclear when the contract would start to trade.
Phil Flynn
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