In late 2014, when crude oil was vacillating between roughly $60 and $80 a barrel, Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service called for a plunge in crude prices over the next year. He was right — crude’s value per barrel was nearly slashed in half by the end of 2015.
Now, Kloza sees further downside for the commodity that’s already tumbled nearly 8 percent this year as U.S. production keeps climbing. He predicts crude will trade in the upper end of the $40 range, perhaps eke over $60 a barrel, but ultimately remain in its recent low- to mid-$50 range for some time as increased shale production has significantly impacted the market.
“Back to the drawing board for crude oil prices,” he remarked Friday in an interview on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” Kloza’s comments come on the heels of crude oil’s worst weekly performance since early March, in which the commodity lost nearly 7 percent to settle just below $50 a barrel.
“It’s the sense that too much gasoline and really a drop in U.S. demand in particular, but a little bit of softness in India and some other places, is going to lead to an undertow for refinery runs,” Kloza, who co-founded the Oil Price Information Service and is the firm’s global head of energy analysis, said Friday.
Concerns of oversupply in the oil market have dragged prices down, Kloza noted, and paired with “a lot of weak charts and a lot of technical selling really brought the market back down to earth.” Indeed, crude on Friday dipped below its 50-day moving average and in late March dove beneath its 200-day moving average, indicating weakness on a technical front.
In the U.S., crude oil stockpiles fell by 1 million barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported; inventory still hovers near record highs. Kloza said he believes crude oil stockpiles will drop every week this quarter and next quarter, which may, in theory, prove bullish for crude prices, “but that’s going to require a lot of patience.”
“The people who are looking for $60 and $70 [per barrel], they have to realize something. We haven’t actually had a month for WTI where it averaged in the 60s since September of 2009,” he said, adding that there were many months following that year in which crude oil averaged anywhere between $80 and $100 per barrel, but not typically in the $60 range.
Furthermore, market watchers looking for oil to end up in the upper $60-$70 range in the intermediate term are going to have to “come back to Earth.”