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Oil Market Anxiety Returns

Oil Rig

Friday March 10, 2016

In the latest edition of the Numbers Report, we’ll take a look at some of the most interesting figures put out this week in the energy sector. Each week we’ll dig into some data and provide a bit of explanation on what drives the numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. Oil prices fall most in a year this week, contango returns

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- Oil prices plunged by more than 8 percent on Wednesday and Thursday after another record setting oil inventory report from the EIA. It was the sharpest decline in more than a year.
- WTI dipped below $50 per barrel for the first time since the OPEC deal was announced.
- The return of bearish sentiment is visible in the reemergence of the market contango – in which front month oil contracts trade at a discount to futures further out, a sign of near-term oversupply concerns.
- This was familiar territory before the OPEC deal – huge inventories, excess supply, and anxiety about when the supply overhang will clear.
- “Everything has been put in doubt,” Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultancy Petromatrix GmbH, told Bloomberg. “It shows that the market is still very fragile.”

2. Oil volatility lowest in more than 1 year

(Click to enlarge)

- Oil prices have been uncharacteristically calm so far in 2017 (until this week), with price volatility falling to its lowest level in a year.

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