If you are having trouble keeping up with all of the rhetoric in the oil market over the past two months, you are not alone. That’s the oil producers’ basic idea, create as much uncertainty as possible in a bid to scare traders from shorting oil, thereby preventing oil prices from cratering.
Lead-Up to Algiers
Oil prices bottomed in mid-February, following the slide that had begun in June 2014. The trigger was a meeting between energy ministers from Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with a couple of smaller OPEC Gulf producers. They could not agree to a production cut, so they came up with a “freeze” proposal, whereby producers would agree not to increase production further.
Although this would not take one barrel of production out of the market, it was enough to spook traders who had large short positions to cover (buy). Random statements by producers created price spikes, and the resulting “headline risk” cause short sellers to progressively cover more and more positions. The effect was a sizable price rise. Continue reading "OPEC's Algiers Meeting"