Crude Oil Forecast: Head and Shoulders Calls for Lower Prices

WTI crude oil fell sharply last Thursday after OPEC and other major producers announced an extension to production cuts through March 2018. This was expected by most, and according to media, the decline was due to disappointment that production cuts were not deeper, which many had hoped for.

U.S. shale production remains a concern, though stockpiles fell for a seventh straight week, a fact that many have seemed to overlook. In addition, some are reportedly wondering what OPEC’s plan for an exit strategy to the production cuts will be without flooding the market with supply again.

For now, the extension of the OPEC cuts has become a game of “wait-and-see”. They will undoubtedly have a longer-term impact on prices, but at this point, it is hard to tell how significant the impact will be.

Most technical factors are negative, though it is still a tight call. July WTI made up some ground since falling late last week. However, the formation of a head and shoulders pattern is negative for the near-term outlook. The pattern’s neckline is $48.1, a close below which would open the way for the move down to continue toward its $44.65 target.

July 2017 WTI Crude Oil - 35-Cent Kase Bar Chart
July 2017 WTI Crude Oil – 35-Cent Kase Bar Chart

The connection to $48.1 is made through $49.1 and $48.6, the 0.618 and 1.00 projections of the wave $50.28 – 49.03 – 49.83. Tomorrow, we expect prices to test $49.1 and $48.6. A close below the lower objective would call for $48.1, the 1.382 projection, which is also near the 0.618 projection of the larger wave, $52.0 – 48.18 – 50.28.

That said, should prices rise above $50.3, near-term odds would shift in favor of $51.1 and possibly higher. The $50.3 level is the top of the head and shoulder’s right shoulder and the 0.618 projection of the wave $48.18 – 50.28 – 49.03. The 1.00 projection is $51.1. Therefore, a close above $50.3 would significantly damage the head and shoulders formation and the likelihood of a break below its $48.1 neckline.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover WTI, Brent, RBOB Gasoline, Diesel, and spreads. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

WTI crude oil continues to rise ahead of May 25’s OPEC meeting. Market participants are optimistic that OPEC will extend production cuts through the end of 2017. Many hope this will help to ease the global supply glut. U.S. production remains a concern, but for now, oil prices are poised to rise.

Most technical factors are positive. In recent days, July WTI sustained settles above the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $54.45 to $44.13. This is a strong indication that the recovery from $44.13 will continue.

July 2017 WTI Crude Oil - 35-Cent Kase Bar Chart
July 2017 WTI – 35-Cent Kase Bar Chart

Today’s break higher out of another intraday bullish flag and settle above Monday’s $51.43 high opens the way for $52.5. As shown in the chart above, this is a highly confluent wave projection that sits just above the 78 percent retracement of the decline from $54.45 to $44.13. The confluence of wave projections at $52.5 make it a potential stalling point.

Momentum on the KaseCD and KasePO is rising. The KasePO is setup for bearish momentum divergence, a reversal signal that forms when higher swing highs in price and lower swing highs in momentum are made. To confirm the divergence signal, a swing high in price and momentum must form before momentum rises to a new high.

The Kase Easy Entry System (KEES) also triggered a second class buy signal (light blue L) on the 35-cent Kase Bar chart today. A second-class buy signal indicates the majority of momentum indicators KEES examines are positive but that momentum on the synthetic longer bar length is negative. Traders using Kase StatWare may have taken a smaller position and placed a tighter trailing stop. Stops may be widened once the KEES permissions shift to first class (dark blue dots).

For the near-term, the $50.57 swing low is important support. A move below this would likely trigger the bearish KasePO divergence and open the way for a correction to $50.0 and possibly $49.6.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover WTI, Brent, RBOB Gasoline, Diesel, and spreads. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Last Wednesday, June WTI broke higher out of the intraday bullish flag discussed in the crude oil forecast. The subsequent move up overcame the 0.618 and 1.00 projections of the wave $43.76 – 46.98 – 45.53. However, June stalled at $49.66 before meeting key resistance at $50.1. This is the confluence point between the 1.382 projection and the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $54.14 to $43.76.

Ultimately, June WTI should challenge $50.1. A sustained close over this would be a strong indication the larger scale move down is over, for now. However, bearish KaseCD and MACD divergences on the $0.50 Kase Bar chart call for a test of support first.

June WTI Crude Oil - $0.50 Kase Bar Chart
June WTI Crude Oil – $0.50 Kase Bar Chart

So far, the decline from $49.66 has been reasonably shallow and choppy, indicating it is most likely corrective of the move up. Today, June settled below the 0.618 projection of the wave $49.66 – 48.73 – 49.38 and met the 1.00 projection at $48.5. Meeting the 1.00 projection means the correction may already be complete. However, until prices rise above the $49.38 swing high, odds favor a deeper correction to $48.1 and possibly $47.1.

If the move up is going to continue to $50.1 this week, $47.1 must hold. This is the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $45.53 to $49.66. A close below $47.1 would call for a deeper test of support and possibly for June to challenge the crucial $45.53 swing low.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover WTI, Brent, RBOB Gasoline, Diesel, and spreads. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

The long-term outlook for WTI crude oil remains negative and it is too soon to state that a bottom has been made. However, last Friday, June WTI met major support at $43.76, the 1.00 projection of the wave $57.95 – 47.58 – 54.14 (exact projection was $43.77). This was also in the realm of the August 2016 swing low of $44.56 and the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $36.18 to $57.95 ($44.5). The confluence of support between $43.77 and $44.56 and the fact that this range has held on a closing basis favors a larger upward correction before the decline continues.

In addition to meeting support at $43.76, June WTI confirmed daily bullish divergences on the KaseCD and Stochastic and a bullish KasePO PeakOut (oversold signal). These signals call for the upward correction to extend. Most importantly, over the past two days, the pullback from $46.98 formed a bullish intraday flag, shown below on the $0.35 Kase Bar chart.

June 2017 WTI Crude Oil - $0.35 Kase Bar Chart
June 2017 WTI Crude Oil – $0.35 Kase Bar Chart

For now, according to Kase’s price forecasting model, odds are 65 percent for a break higher out of the flag. These odds will increase as prices rise toward the upper trendline of the flag at $46.6.

Important resistance at $47.6 should be challenged upon a break higher out of the flag. This is the confluence point between the 38 percent retracement of the decline from $54.14 to $43.76 and the 0.618 projection of the wave $43.76 – 46.98 – 45.53.

That said, there are some danger signs that indicate the flag, and other bullish technical factors, are on the teetering edge of failing.

The key to a break higher out of the flag and extended upward correction is holding support at $45.5. This is in line with the today’s $45.53 swing low and the flag’s lower trendline. A close below this would call for a test of $45.0, the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $43.76 to $46.98. Settling below $45.0 would shift near-term odds back in favor of testing the $43.76 low again.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary and intra-week updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover WTI, Brent, RBOB Gasoline, Diesel, and spreads. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

On Friday, WTI crude oil prices pulled back sharply after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled short-term interest rates may be raised in coming weeks. The U.S. dollar rose, and oil prices fell. The week ended on a negative note, and the corrective pullback extended again on Monday.

Aside from the stronger dollar, media outlets also indicate traders and analysts are weighing the potential consequences of a still oversupplied market against the prospects of a production freeze. Last week, DOE data showed U.S. inventories of oil and refined products have risen to a record high. However, Iran has reportedly shown interest in joining talks with other major producers regarding measures to freeze production in a unified effort to stabilize prices.

The longer-term technical outlook for oil remains positive. However, near-term factors indicate the corrective decline should continue to extend first. October WTI met the 0.618 projection of the wave $49.36 – 46.42 – 48.46 on Monday. Nearly 80 percent of waves that meet the 0.618 projection extend to the 1.00 projection. Therefore, odds favor $45.5 before the move up continues.

CLV6 20160829

The $45.5 target is important because it is near the 38 percent retracement of the move up from $39.96 to $49.36. A “normal” correction should hold $45.5. A close below $45.5 would open the way for an extended correction and potential trading range in the mid-to-upper $40s.

The move down will remain choppy, but over the next few days look for resistance at $47.9 to hold. Key resistance is $48.7. A move to $48.7 would take out the wave down from $49.36 that projects to $45.5 and lower.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary and intraweek updates are a much more detailed and thorough energy price forecast. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Supply disruptions due to wildfires in Alberta and militant attacks in Nigeria were reportedly offsetting rising stockpiles of crude oil and surging OPEC output. However, those factors seem to be easing, and may not have as much of an impact on supply as originally indicated.

U.S. crude inventories reached their highest level since 1929, but rig counts continue to decline and U.S. output reportedly dropped the most in eight months during the week ended April 29.

Some analysts and traders believe the move up may have been too much too fast, and that the market is taking a much needed breather after rising four weeks in a row prior to last week. Sentiment is also becoming more negative, indicating the move down should extend.

June WTI crude oil challenged key resistance at $46.1 a few times over the past several days. This level has held so far, and should continue to hold as the corrective move down extends. The wave formations down from $46.78 and $46.07 indicate June should decline to at least $42.5. This is a confluent wave projection and the last major swing low. A close below $42.5 would call for $42.0 and lower.

crude oil
crude oil

That said, at this point, we do not foresee that prices will fall apart. We expect trading to remain choppy. Look for $44.3 to hold upon a test of resistance early tomorrow before the decline continues. Crucial resistance for tomorrow is $44.9. We doubt prices will rise this high unless spurred by random events. Key resistance remains $46.1. A close above $46.1 would indicate the correction is over, and in turn, open the way for the next leg higher.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary is a much more detailed and thorough energy price forecast. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas continues to send mixed signals on a day-to-day basis. However, that is pretty typical for this time of year during the shoulder months ahead of summer. Natural gas is trying to gauge the prospects of a recovery or a continued decline over the course of the longer-term, but it needs to gather more information first. With all current factors considered, it is looking like natural gas is settling into another trading range, though the boundaries of the range are still being determined.

For now, odds still favor a decline. June natural gas met the 0.618 projection for the wave $2.304 – 2.042 – 2.195 at $2.026 on Monday. Waves that meet the 0.618 projection typically extend to the 1.00 projection, in this case $1.93. Therefore, unless $2.195 is overcome, odds ultimately favor $1.93.

NGM6 20150504
natural gas

That said, the wave up from $2.026, aided by today’s close over $2.14, shows potential to extend to its 1.618 projection of $2.19. This is near the $2.195 swing high and the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $2.304 to $2.026. A move above $2.195 would take out the wave down from $2.304 that projects to $1.93 and lower, and in turn, shift odds in favor of $2.28 and higher.

First support is $2.06, the 0.618 projection of the wave $2.195 – 2.026 – 2.16. A close below this would take out the wave up from $2.026 and the near-term potential of overcoming $2.195. This would also open the way for another attempt at $2.00 and lower.

The key over the next few days will be either a move above $2.195 or below $2.061. As stated, odds favor the decline, but it is a very tight call right now.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary is a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

The failure to reach an agreement to freeze crude oil output levels for key producers caused prices to slide in early trading Monday. June WTI gapped down from Friday’s $41.19 low and met crucial support at $39.0. However, the labor strike in Kuwait, which has decreased the nation’s output by nearly 60 percent for the second straight day, lent support to the market. June WTI rose to $41.66 and settled at $41.19 on Monday.

The bounce to $41.66 filled the gap and fulfilled the 1.00 projection of the wave $39.0 – 40.92 – 39.81. The move up may gather some strength from the strike in Kuwait and extend a bit higher on Tuesday. However, from a technical standpoint, the move up from $39.0 was not unusual. Gaps are usually filled, and as stated, the move up from $39.0 has already met technical resistance near $41.66.

CLM6 20160418
crude oil

Without support from bullish fundamentals or further random events (such as the strike in Kuwait), we expect prices to grind their way lower to support at $40.6 and $40.0 over the next few days. $39.0 remains key, and a close below this would open the way for major support in the mid $30s.

That said, a close over $41.7 would call for $42.5 and possibly $42.9. At this point, we don’t expect to see prices rise above $42.9.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary is a much more detailed and thorough energy price forecast. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

The highly anticipated and headline grabbing April 17 meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC nations has set the stage for crude oil’s rally. However, some traders and pundits still think the world is awash in oil and an out-put freeze has already been priced in. They anticipate an agreement to freeze production—if reached—would have little near-term impact.

Others believe slipping U.S. oil production is the most likely and more logical culprit for the price rise and could continue to lead the way higher. In addition, the sliding U.S. dollar and Federal Reserve officials’ optimistic statements on Friday morning regarding the U.S. economy and flat interest rates have also been interpreted as bullish.

From a technical standpoint the move up is poised to continue. Last week, WTI held the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $30.67 to $42.49 when prices fell to $35.24. This was important because the move up from $30.67 forms Wave III of a potential five-wave pattern. WTI is now forming a potential Wave V, but must overcome key resistance at $42.8 to prove that is the case. $42.8 is a confluent projection for Waves I and III, so a close over this would shed a much more bullish light on WTI.

CLK6 20160411

Look for initial resistance at $40.9 and $41.6. These are important projections for the wave up from $35.24 and potential stalling points. We expect to see at least a small pullback (21 to 38 percent retracement) once $41.6 is met. A close over $41.6 will significantly increase the odds of challenging $42.8,

Look for support at $38.7 and $37.3. A close below $37.3 would indicate the move up has likely failed, and that another test of $35.2 will take place.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary is a much more detailed and thorough energy price forecast. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Last week May natural gas formed a double top at $2.03. The confirmation point for the pattern was $1.837, the swing low between the two peaks of $2.032 and $2.028. May rose above the $2.03 double top, but failed to close over this crucial level on both Monday and Tuesday. This was negative and set the market up for a test of major support.

Today’s close below the $1.925 swing low indicates May should now challenge the $1.837 swing low. A move below this would take out the wave up from $1.731 and significantly dampen the potential for the upward correction to continue. Look for initial support tomorrow at $1.86, the 62 percent retracement from $1.731 to $2.074.

NGK6 20160406

That said, the wave $2.074 – 1.982 – 2.041 met its 1.618 projection at $1.89. Therefore, be mindful of the potential for a small upward correction in early trading tomorrow. Currently, our models show resistance at $2.03 and $2.07. We expect $2.03 to hold.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary is a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.