Following their recent entry into new bear markets, United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, have been the center of much debate among commodities market observers.
For example, some professional traders do not see the current oil bear market lasting very long. Still, some concerned oil market participants believe oil is rallying without strong fundamental cause. A case can be made that oil’s rally is defying still troubling supply dynamics and tepid demand.
On Monday, oil was boosted by a familiar catalyst: Speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could intervene to support prices. Oil prices bounced after Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy minister and holder of OPEC’s rotating presidency, said that OPEC members are in “constant deliberations” on stabilizing the market and prices are expected to rise in the later part of 2016, Bloomberg reports.
Those headlines arrived just days after reports indicating some big-name Wall Street banks are increasingly bearish on crude.
“The Wall Street Journal surveyed 13 investment banks on their predictions for Brent prices, and the average result was $56 per barrel for 2017, which was about $1 per barrel lower than the survey the WSJ conducted in June. The investment banks also don’t see oil prices bouncing back to $50 per barrel until the end of this year, which is a dramatic change from last year’s expectation that oil would hit $70 in 2016,” according to OilPrice.com.