Crude Oil Prices Swing Wildly Before Key OPEC Meeting
- Crude oil prices drop most in a month, then attempt intraday recovery
- All eyes on OPEC meeting amid scramble to finalize output cut deal
- Gold prices look to US data, Trump cabinet news for direction cues
Crude oil prices posted the largest decline in a month amid growing pessimism about the success of an OPEC production cut scheme unveiled in September. Operational details of the arrangement are meant to be unveiled at a formal meeting today. Cheery comments from cartel members have lifted prices intraday but delegates still seem deadlocked on who will assume what share of reducing output (as expected).
Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia and Iran are at the heart of the negotiations breakdown. The two countries are fighting at least two proxy wars against each other (Syria, Yemen) and were always likely to balk at anything that might help one another. Saudi Arabia agreed to give Iran an exception from the cut in a would-be breakthrough in September but is now backtracking to insist that all of OPEC participate.
All eyes now turn to what actually emerges from the sit-down in Vienna. A last-minute agreement will probably boost prices in the near term but exceptions for sizable producers (Iran and Iraq in particular) as well as vague output cut distribution may limit follow-through. An outright failure to deliver at least the appearance of an accord will likely drive significant selling.
Gold prices continue to tread water as markets digest losses suffered after the US presidential election. Yesterday’s better-than-expected third quarter US GDP revision failed to make waves. The upcoming releases of the more timely PCE report, the Fed’s favored inflation gauge, and the ADP estimate of jobs growth may command greater attention.
US news-flow has improved relative to consensus forecasts in recent weeks, suggesting analysts are underestimating the economy’s vigor and opening the door for upbeat results. This may drive further steepening of the projected 2017 rate hike path, punishing gold. Confirmation of rumors predicting the imminent naming of Steve Mnuchin as incoming US Treasury secretary may cloud price action however.
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GOLD TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Gold prices continue to tread water below the $1200/oz figure. Near-term support is at 1171.83, the 123.6% Fibonacci expansion, with a daily close below that exposing the 138.2% level at 1152.30. Alternatively, a reversal above the 100% Fib at 1203.40 targets the 76.4%expansion at 1234.97.
CRUDE OIL TECHNICAL ANALYSIS – Crude oil prices have launched sharply higher and may be on pace to erase losses dating back to last week. A daily close above the 14% Fibonacci expansion exposes the November 22 high at 49.17. Alternatively, a move back below the 23.6% Fib at 46.87 may pave the way for a return to the 38.2% expansion at 45.45.