Oil prices still walk a balance between ongoing supply shortages (mostly because of OPEC+) and pessimistic COVID-19 news in Asia. So far, the supply side is winning. Demand in the West continues to improve, and OPEC+’s small production increases this summer are not weighing down price.
An impending news item could be Iran. Proxy discussions between U.S., Iran, and other countries may yield a return to the nuclear deal, initially arranged in the Obama administration. Trump had exited the deal and replaced it with sanctions, including a ban on oil sales. That means Iran might have over 1 MMBbl/d (maybe 1.5 MMBbl/d) of supply waiting if a new deal is struck. See our Factor Matrix, where we ascribe a “bearish surprise” warning.
Otherwise, we still are wary of the rest of OPEC+’s spare capacity. Comparing expected production to historical production, there could be 6 MMBbl/d of extra capacity this summer. The availability of that capacity (it’s been a while since they produced at those levels) and OPEC+’s choices on timing both could suddenly add bearish pressure to price.
Our default hedging recommendations for most clients are swaps, rather than options structures. As prices have escalated, swaps are tactical tools to increase your weighted-average floor price and protect your budget. Further, as Cal 2022 and Cal 2023 are near $60 and $57, extending your tenors can create a protective base layer of protection.