May Crude Oil futures were under pressure most of the week driven by concerns over huge supply and diminishing demand. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s supply and demand report for the week-ended March 6 showed that crude supplies rose for the ninth straight week. The bright spots in the report were that the 4.5 million barrel increase met pre-report estimates and was also much lower than the previous week’s 10.3 million barrel build. It’s too early to tell if the number of barrels is trending lower. One week does not make a trend so next Wednesday’s report is going to carry more weight than usual.
A drop in the number of barrels will also be a sign that the decline in the number of producing rigs may be working. This is the key fundamental factor that is holding this market in a range.
Despite straddling a key retracement area at $50.80 to $49.55, a downside bias seems to be developing. The lower top at $54.00 on March 5 and the lower-low on March 11 at $49.17 are signs that the downtrend may be re-emerging. Since the market may be in the hands of weak short sellers who showed up late to the game, buyers have been able to prevent a “wash-out” to the downside.
There are two major concerns weighing on prices at this time. The first is concern that storage is at or near capacity at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub. Based on the current build rate, supply is getting very close to challenging this…