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This article is more than 6 year old.

As crude gets crushed, traders play for $40 oil

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Crude oil fell another 1.5 percent on Thursday, settling at USD 48.48, the lowest level since March 31. And some traders say even lower prices are ahead.

Crude oil fell another 1.5 percent on Thursday, settling at USD 48.48, the lowest level since March 31. And some traders say even lower prices are ahead.

"This market is headed to USD 40 before we go to USD 60 again," said Bill Baruch, chief market strategist at Chicago-based iiTrader, citing reasons on both the supply and demand side of the equation.

In terms of demand, Baruch says the long-term picture looks bearish, with the International Energy Agency saying in a July report that global oil demand is set to slow in 2016.

"We have passed peak demand," he said.

And when it comes to supply, Iran could start exporting oil after a deal with the US, and Saudi Arabia "has shown a strong commitment to a production war," he wrote in an email to CNBC. "The second battle has essentially just begun."

Finally, long-term sentiment is not yet bearish enough, he said.

"Look for a consolidation pattern, and just above USD 50 is a key sell target against a downtrend line from mid-June."

Taking a deeper technical dive, Piper Jaffray analyst Craig Johnson notes that crude oil has recently failed a test of its own 200-day moving average. And with support at USD 50 violated, "we suspect a return to the '15 lows is underway," he wrote.

In March, crude fell below USD 42.85 per barrel.

Not everyone is bearish, of course.

"Right now, oil prices are in La-La-Land," said Steven Kopits of Princeton Energy Advisors. "I think investors have been watching the news and not the fundamentals. Current prices just aren't sustainable."

According to Kopits, "The only way you could keep oil prices at current levels is if US shale producers can demonstrate growth in quantity at current prices, and I just don't believe that's true right now."

There could be "more of a downdraft" in the near term, he said, but "I see WTI north of USD 60 soon, and possibly north of USD 65."

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