Attention Returns to Oil as Iran Sanctions Loom


Bullish sentiment seems to be growing in the energy market as Iranian sanctions take hold.

U.S. WTI crude oil futures (@CL) are pushing the top of their 2018 range, while the spot price on European Brent hit a four-year high this week. The gains have come despite bigger-than-expected inventory numbers from the Energy Department for two weeks in a row.

The market is looking past those short-term headlines to the prospect of all countries except China ceasing to purchase of Iranian oil on November 4. Experts see that removing anywhere from 500,000 to 2 million barrels from daily global supply.

There’s also been at least one bullish call recently, with J.P. Morgan saying earlier this week oil could rise 18-25 percent to the $85-90 range. Other positives for the price of black gold include waning production in Venezuela and continued economic growth. U.S. output gains, as measured by the Baker Hughes rig count, have also slowed.

In conclusion, a lot of attention is focused on other stories this week — especially the Fed, tariffs and Brett Kavanaugh. But another story involving oil could be taking shape in the background.

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David Russell is Global Head of Market Strategy at TradeStation. Drawing on nearly two decades of experience as a financial journalist and analyst, his background includes equities, emerging markets, fixed-income and derivatives. He previously worked at Bloomberg News, CNBC and E*TRADE Financial. Russell systematically reviews countless global financial headlines and indicators in search of broad tradable trends that present opportunities repeatedly over time. Customers can expect him to keep them appraised of sector leadership, relative strength and the big stories – especially those overlooked by other commentators. He’s also a big fan of generating leverage with options to limit capital at risk.