In a week where things are starting off rather quietly, oil continues to sizzle as we see WTI crude touch above $92 today. The unrelenting push higher now sees oil pushing closer towards the highs from October and early November last year, at around $93.25-73 next. So, is $100 oil set to return in the near future? ING definitely sees that as being in play.
"Oil prices remain well supported, with ICE Brent edging closer towards US$95/bbl as the market continues to become increasingly concerned over the tightness in the oil balance for the remainder of the year. The tightness in the market is also well reflected in the structure of the forward curve. Tightening fundamentals have attracted speculators back into the market with both the managed money net position as well as the spreading position seeing meaningful increases over the last reporting week.
Given the constructive fundamentals and more positive sentiment, we could see ICE Brent breaking above US$100/bbl in the not-too-distant future. However, such a move would likely be unsustainable, leading to growing political pressure, whilst the Saudis and the broader OPEC group will probably not want to push the market too high, given the demand destruction risks this could create."
As oil prices continue to stay more bullish now amid tighter market conditions, the thing to watch is the spillover impact to the inflation outlook in the months ahead. If we're talking about oil exceeding $100 again for a decent period of time, that will cause further headache for central banks who are now on the path to pausing amid a softening in the global economy.