Looking back on the first half of 2020 in energy, it has been marked by one of the most volatile periods in the history of crude. The main WTI futures contract, CL, hit a peak of $65.65 early in January before beginning a collapse that would see the May contract do the unthinkable on its expiration date and turn negative. At one point, traders were paying $40 for you to take a barrel of oil off their hands.
Then began a bounce that, in some ways was just as spectacular. From the switch to the June contract onwards, CL has jumped close to 500% in a couple of months.
After filling the massive gap caused by the Saudi/Russia price war in March though, then peaking twice before falling back, the big bounce is now over as a continuous, momentum-driven move, with this week looking to end as a small net negative for crude futures..
So, what’s next? What will be the direction of CL’s next $10 move?
After that amount of volatility in six months, it is tempting to say that we will see an extended pause now that a level has been found, but that is unlikely. Globally, things are calming down as the coronavirus pandemic recedes, but here in the U.S. there has been a massive setback in the re-opening plans as new cases have hit an all-time high. Oh, and lest you say that is simply down to more testing, the positivity rate of tests has also climbed. That has come mainly in states that re-opened early, so it is clear that while shutting down is unpopular…