Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crude Oil breaking below 17-Year Support

Source: Chart of the Day
On January 7 the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was a mere USD 48. The long-term trend of West Texas Intermediate crude that has largely traded within the confines of an upward sloping trend channel since the late 1990s. However, with the dramatic 55% plunge that began back in mid-2014, crude oil has now clearly broken below support (green line) of its 17-year trend channel - a significant turn of events (see chart at left).

Raj Times and Cycles pointed to a 50 Month Cycle due in June 2015, and the bias would be a Low and the Apex of the 2 year Triangle due in February 2016, which should be a major change in trend (see chart below). 

However, after a possible bounce back to USD 70, geopolitical circumstances could drive prices for WTI further down during the next two years to test the 2008 low at around USD 30 or even the 1998 low at around USD 10.

Source: Raj Times and Cycles

Plummeting Brent oil prices are putting pressure not only on Russia, Iran, Nigeria or Venezuela but also on North American shale, which has sunk hundreds of billions of dollars into investment, and could soon come crashing down.Tempted by big returns, shale companies have borrowed more than $200 billion in bonds and loans, from Wall Street and London, to cover development and projects that may not even come to fruition. Oil producers' debt since 2010 has increased more than 55 percent, and revenues have slowed, rising only 36 percent from September 2014, compared to 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal. Analysts believe North American shale needs to sell at USD 60-100 per barrel to break even on the billions of debt accrued by the energy companies. Indebted companies, fearing bankruptcy, may therefore be forced to keep selling oil, even at a loss (Source: WSJ).