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Crude Oil Prices Ready To Challenge 6-Month Lows

Jon C. Ogg

Maybe you have noticed the price of gasoline has been coming down. It may be coming down further, and sooner rather than later. One WSJ report showed that about one-fourth of the nation is paying under $3.00 per gallon at the gas pump now. Now the oil companies have some new considerations about oil as crude is within spitting distance of challenging a 6-month low.

Crude Oil futures settled down $2.10 per barrel at $93.04 on Tuesday. This is the lowest closing price in about 5 months, and is within striking distance of a six-month low around $91.00.

We are even seeing much of the same in the United States Oil (USO). This was down 1.9% at $33.60 on last look. We would warn readers that this trust has price erosion through time due to management fees and due to futures roll-dates, but it does aim to track crude movement throughout the day. Its trading is a bit different from futures and we would point out that the recent low was $33.55 on November 5 prior to today's $33.50 low. Trading volume was active in this trust on Tuesday as well.

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Several things are working against crude at the moment. Weak and slow global growth is the most crucial factor. Another factor is that the United States could take the leadership position in global oil and gas production. That production is now at or is close to reaching a generational high.

A wild card remains Iran, despite a lack of a signed and sealed agreement. With all the talk of a settlement over Iran's nuclear ambitions, imagine what happens if the geopolitical risk is removed from the table. Now imagine what happens to the price of oil if the geopolitical risk removal is compounded by Iran getting to sell its oil on the global markets on an at-market price basis.

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Domestic supply concerns also helped push the needle the most, but that may be a near-term issue rather than a structural market issue for the long haul. Those supplies will be released on Thursday.

The price of oil settling down $2.10 per barrel at $93.04 is a big deal. Lower energy costs will help keep inflation low. Lower inflation keeps the Federal Reserve from having to worry about the impact of the endless $85 billion in monthly bond buying. And the market is addicted to easy money.

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