Oil Market Update: Has the Oil Price Rally Run its Course?

Oil prices staged a 3-decade best performance in May and early-June, after WTI crude plummeted into negative territory in April. The easing in pandemic containment measures around the world, as well as an agreement by OPEC+ on deep production cuts, supported the turnaround. Oil prices touched a 4-month high on July 21, boosted by the EU fiscal agreement and news of a possible vaccine. However, the recovery may have run its course, and risks appear to be tilted on the downside. Going forward, the main drag on prices is likely to come from: (1) the negative impact on demand in the event of a sustained second wave of the pandemic; (2) supply coming back to the market from both OPEC+ as well as other producers, as a result of the higher prices; and (3) record-high inventories. The only upside risk to oil prices would be an inexplicable strong rebound in global demand, although market sentiment could still cause some volatility.

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