COVID-19

The selloff in US crude oil futures was a brutal 21% in early Monday trade, and there is little sign of any imminent recovery, with West Texas Intermediate May prices still bumping along below $15 per barrel.

“Don’t panic,” suggest analysts led by Mark Haefele, chief investment officer in UBS’s wealth management arm. They forecast prices of WTI and Brent crude of $20 per barrel at the end of June, and over $40 per barrel at the end of the year.

The volatile trade comes amid fears US storage facilities could soon max out, leaving markets watching both domestic production and inbound crude tankers due for US ports. If the current pace of the inventory build continues, we could see US tanks hit max capacity roughly by the end of June.

But the sharp swing in the front month contract also reflects thinned trade, with most of the market already shifting to the June contract before the Tuesday rollover.

TRACKING COVID 19

But oil prices could be the last of the major asset classes to recover from the coronavirus crisis, cautioned Stephen Innes, global markets strategist at foreign exchange trader Axicorp.

Regardless of what OPEC does, there will be structural demand loss for oil due to less travel. At a minimum, oil prices will be the last asset class to recover from lockdown. End transport demand will only occur in the final stages of reopening when border crossing is allowed, and travel restrictions get lifted. People will then flock again to planes, trains, and automobile

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