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Oil Market Trends Show Signs of Weakness Amid Geopolitical Tensions

21 May 20244 mins read by Angel One
This article examines recent fluctuations in the oil market, focusing on metrics indicating a weaker outlook, geopolitical tensions, and upcoming OPEC+ decisions.
Oil Market Trends Show Signs of Weakness Amid Geopolitical Tensions
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Narrowing Backwardation and Declining Bets on Oil Prices

Oil prices have exhibited a declining trend, influenced by market metrics pointing to a weaker outlook despite geopolitical tensions and the upcoming OPEC+ meeting on supply. Brent crude’s prompt spread has narrowed to its smallest backwardation (backwardation is a market condition where the current price of a commodity is higher than prices trading in the futures market, often indicating tight supply and strong demand) since January, indicating reduced confidence in near-term price increases.

Futures have been trading within a tight range, with implied volatility nearing its lowest levels since 2019. The global benchmark Brent crude fell towards USD 83.64 a barrel, after a 0.31% decline on Monday, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was near USD 79.03. This decline persists despite increased geopolitical tensions, including Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian refineries and a Houthi strike against a tanker in the Red Sea.

Impact of OPEC+ Cuts and Upcoming Meeting

Brent Crude prices have risen approximately 8.56% this year, largely due to OPEC+ production cuts. However, the prices have eased since mid-April. Market participants are closely watching the upcoming OPEC+ meeting in early June, where the group’s supply policy for the second half of the year will be decided. It is anticipated that a rollover of the existing curbs would happen.

Volatility and Geopolitical Developments

Brent’s second-month rolling volatility reached its lowest levels since 2019. Both Brent and WTI hovered near USD 84 and USD 80 a barrel, respectively, drifting between small gains and losses. Despite significant events in the Middle East, such as the death of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and concerns over the health of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, it is to be believed that these events will not significantly impact global oil prices. Policies and exports from these countries are expected to remain stable.

Influence of U.S. Economic Indicators

Recent U.S. economic indicators have also influenced oil prices. Concerns over lingering inflation and potential interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve have led to fears of weaker demand. Fed officials have indicated that it is too early to consider interest rate cuts, contributing to market uncertainty. Lower interest rates typically reduce borrowing costs, potentially boosting economic growth and oil demand.

OPEC+ Production Decisions and Market Outlook

The upcoming OPEC+ meeting on June 1 is a critical event for the oil market. The group is expected to discuss extending some members’ voluntary cuts, amounting to 2.2 million barrels per day. Despite recent declines, Brent has gained almost 10% this year, supported by OPEC+ supply cuts. The market is eagerly awaiting signals from the meeting on future production policies.

Geopolitical tensions continue to add to market uncertainty. Drone strikes on Russian refineries and a missile attack on a China-bound tanker in the Red Sea highlight ongoing risks. However, the market appears less affected by political uncertainties in major oil-producing countries, as investors focus on supply dynamics and demand outlooks.


The oil market is currently navigating through a weakening of demand, rising geopolitical tensions, and economic uncertainties. While OPEC+ production cuts have provided some support to prices, the overall market sentiment remains cautious. The upcoming OPEC+ meeting will be a crucial determinant of future supply policies and market direction. Traders and investors are closely monitoring these developments, seeking clarity amid the current volatility and rangebound trading. As the market awaits a catalyst for a breakout, both geopolitical events and economic indicators will play significant roles in shaping the future of oil prices.

Disclaimer: This blog has been written exclusively for educational purposes. The securities mentioned are only examples and not recommendations. The information is based on various secondary sources on the internet and is subject to change. Please consult with a financial expert before making investment decisions.

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