Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oil Market Update

The chart below indicates two trends. The first is an upward trend started in mid-January. The second is a consolidation trend started in mid-February.

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We have the following currents in the markets right now:


Since then rising political tension involving Middle Eastern and African oil producers and reduced output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has provided some support for prices, but they have struggled to break above $60 a barrel.

OPEC member Iran, the world's fourth biggest oil exporter, which has been in dispute with the West over its nuclear ambitions for well over a year, remains defiant.

On Wednesday, it vowed to press on with its nuclear fuel programme, ignoring a U.N. deadline to freeze uranium enrichment or face broader sanctions, but it offered to guarantee it would not try to develop nuclear weapons. [nL2194927]

Tensions are also rising in Africa's biggest producer Nigeria ahead of April elections. Already militant attacks have shut a fifth of output.


Mild weather in top consumer the United States has cut into demand, however, and is acting as a drag on prices. U.S. heating oil demand is expected to be about two percent below normal this week, the U.S. National Weather Service said.

Finally, we have the upcoming summer driving season which is a net plus for demand.

So -- how will this play out? Only time will tell.