Oil Prices – Weekly Outlook April 30-May 4 2012

Crude oil prices showed some signs of recovery as both WTI and Brent oil slightly increased during last week. They are still in their respective range of $102-$105 for WTI and $117-$120 during the past several weeks; the sharp rise in natural gas prices during last week might be related with the increase in oil prices. The Brent premium over WTI remained in its range in the $15 mark. During the upcoming week there are several important reports and events that may affect the oil market including the U.S manufacturing PMI, no-farm payroll report, factory orders, Canada’s GDP, ECB rate decision and U.S jobless claims.   

Here is an outlook and a weekly analysis on the crude oil market for the week of April 30th to May 4th:

Crude Oil Prices – April/May

By Friday, April 27th crude oil price (WTI) increased by 0.36% and reached $104.93/b; Brent oil price also increased by 0.30% to $120.02/b; during last week, WTI spot oil increased by 1.82% and Brent oil by 1.27%.

In the chart below are the shifts in WTI and Brent oil prices during April (prices are normalized to March 30th). It shows how both oil prices have had an upward trend during last week.

Crude spot oil price forecast Brent oil and WTI spot oil  2012   30 April 4 MayPremium of Brent over WTI – April/May

The difference between Brent oil and WTI spot oil nearly didn’t move during last week, and was in the range of $15-$16 per barrel. During April the premium decreased by 27.42%.

Difference between Brent and WTI crude spot oil price forecast 2012   30 April 4 MayDuring April the correlation between Brent oil price and WTI oil price (daily percent changes) remained high at 0.72. This means the linear relation between WTI and Brent prices is still robust and strong despite the different direction both energy prices have had during the month.


Correlations wti and Brent crude spot oil prices   30 April 4 May  2012

Standard Deviation

The standard deviations of Brent oil price increased during April compared with March’s figures while the standard deviations of WTI price didn’t rise. Nevertheless, the April standard deviations of both energy prices are still well below the high levels recorded during February 2012.

standard deviation Crude oil price Brent oil and WTI spot oil  30 April 4 May 2012Crude Oil Stockpiles –Didn’t Change Last Week  

U.S. crude oil stockpiles remained virtually unchanged last week. For the week ending on April 20th oil stockpiles reached 1,763.6 million barrels.

The upcoming report will be published on Wednesday, May 2nd and will refer to the week ending on April 27th.

U.S. Stock Market / Crude Oil Prices – April/May

The S&P500 index rose during last week by 1.8% to reach 1,403 on Friday; during April there was a strong and positive correlation between oil prices and S&P500 index; the correlation of the S&P500 index with WTI oil price was 0.755 and with Brent oil 0.625 – their strongest correlations in 2012.

I speculate if the American stock market indexes will continue to trade up, this will also coincide with the rise of crude oil prices.

Correlations wti and Brent spot oil prices with S&P500   30 April 4 May   2012Main Oil Related News Items for the upcoming week

Monday 13:30 – Canada’s GDP by Industry: In the previous report for January, the real GDP edged up by 0.1%. This report may affect the strength of the Canadian dollar which is strongly linked with crude oil prices;

Monday 2:00– China Manufacturing PMI: according to the previous Manufacturing PMI report for March the PMI rose to 53.1; if this upward trend will continue, this may also affect oil prices; China is among the leading countries in importing oil;

Tuesday 4:30 – Reserve Bank of Australia – Cash Rate Statement: the overnight money market interest rate of Australia’s Reserve Bank remained flat at 4.25% since December 2011; if the RBA will decide to change the rate this news may affect the Aussie dollar that is strongly related with commodities prices;

Tuesday 15:00 – U.S. ISM Manufacturing PMI: During March 2012 the index edged up to 53.4%, which means the manufacturing is growing at a slightly faster pace; this index might affect crude oil and markets;

Wednesday 15:00 – U.S Factory Orders: this report will offer some insight to the progress of the U.S economy and could affect the path of the U.S dollar;

Thursday 13:30 – U.S. Jobless Claims:  in the previous update the jobless claims slipped to 388,000; this upcoming weekly report may affect the direction of commodities prices;

Thursday 13:30 – ECB Press Conference and Euro Rate Decision: In previous rate decision the ECB left the rate flat at 1%; if the ECB will decide to change the rate, it may affect the Euro/USD;

Friday 13:30 – U.S. Non-Farm Payroll Update: if the upcoming report will be positive and reach the 180-200 thousand mark, this may positively affect energy commodities prices (see here my last review on the U.S employment report).

Forex and Crude Oil Prices – April/May

The EURO/USD exchange rate edged up during last week by 0.26%. Furthermore, the AUD/USD also rose by 0.88%. There are still positive and strong linear correlations among these currencies pairs (EURO/USD, AUD/USD) and crude oil prices. If the U.S dollar will keep depreciating against the EURO and Aussie dollar during the upcoming week, it may positively affect crude oil prices.

Crude Oil Prices Outlook and Analysis:

The Brent premium over WTI oil nearly didn’t change during last week but may start to fall again especially if the WTI oil prices will continue to outperform Brent oil as it did during most of April.

In the upcoming week the U.S Manufacturing PMI and non-farm payroll reports – these reports will show the developments in U.S economy and may affect energy commodities prices; if these reports will show growth and beat expectations then they could positively affect oil prices; the ECB rate decision may affect oil prices via the Euro/USD especially if there will be a rate change. If the U.S stock market will trade up this may also positively affect crude oil prices. Finally, if major currencies including EURO and Aussie dollar will continue to appreciate against the U.S. dollar, then they may help rally crude oil prices.

I speculate during the following week, WTI oil price will trade between $100 and $107 and Brent between $116 and $122.    

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