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Crude Surges Back To 2-Week Highs As Yellen Hope Trumps Iran Price Cuts

by April 8, 2016 General

Only in the new normal of manic algos and goal-seeked short-squeezes could actual news that Iran is undercutting OPEC by slashing prices to maintain market share be out-followed by hopefulness driven by upbeat comment from Janet Yellen (because she has nailed everyting so far) and more chatter about a production freeze (which makes no sense whatsoever given the Iran news). For now, WTI is trading above $39.50 ahead of today’s rig count data, back at 2-week highs.

After yesterday’s rollover collapse, everything is epically awesome once again…

So the bad news… As Gulf News reports, Iran ratcheted up its offence in the oil market after breaking a pricing tradition, signalling it’s seeking to win market share at a time when rival producers are trying to forge a deal on freezing output.

State-run National Iranian Oil Co. will sell the Forozan Blend crude for May to Asia below the level offered by rival Saudi Aramco for Arab Medium, the third month the Arabian Gulf state is giving the discount after setting it at a premium for almost seven years through February 2016, data compiled by Bloomberg show. NIOC will also sell the Iranian Light grade to Asian customers at 60 cents below Middle East benchmark prices, a company official said on Friday, asking not to be identified because of internal policy.

While producers including Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest member, and Russia are due to meet in Doha on April 17 to discuss a deal to freeze output in a step toward clearing a global glut, Iran is determined to regain market share lost over the past few years due to sanctions over its nuclear programme. To pry away customers relishing oil that is cheaper than mid-2014 levels by more than 50 per cent, the country is expected to focus on pricing and boosting supply.

“Unquestionably, since the lifting of sanctions, the Iranians have become a force to be reckoned with in global oil markets,” said John Driscoll, chief strategist at JTD Energy Services Pte, who has spent more than 30 years trading crude and petroleum in Singapore. “Their mission is to recapture market share, pure and simple.”

But oil is rallying because…

Upbeat Yellen: Bloomberg reports Crude benefits from Yellen’s upbeat comments – all of which is utter nonsense as she has been a total disaster in forecasting anything.

Production Freeze Chatter: Bloomberg reports WTI extends gains to above $39 for the highest this month as market considers potential for output freeze – all of which is total nonsense since if Iran is cutting prices to maintain market share then the Saudis will never freeze production.

But since when did any of that matter.

As Saxo’s Ole Hanson explains,

Oil investors looking for signs of sustained price recovery would do well to assess U.S. supplies rather than banter between major producers on freezing output, according to Saxo Bank.

While OPEC members, producers outside group are set to meet in Qatar this month to discuss deal, just capping output would have limited impact on prices because several participants are already pumping near record amounts.

Rebalancing of oil mkt amid a glut triggered by U.S. shale boom hinges more on American drilling activity.