From Bloomberg

Supply and demand both falling quickly, says BofA’s Blanch, Energy investors beat sector ‘to death’: RBC Capital Markets

Oil flirted with bear-market territory as Saudi Arabia insisted OPEC will avert a global supply glut after international trade brinkmanship triggered the steepest monthly slump this year.

Futures gained as much as 2.1% in New York on Monday before surrendering those gains and extending the decline to a fourth session. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday that recent volatility is “unwarranted” and predicted allied crude producers will continue efforts to avoid an oversupply for the rest of 2019.

Al-Falih’s assurances weren’t enough to calm traders worried that simmering trade disputes will squelch the economic growth that underpins oil demand. Escalating geopolitical tensions across the Middle East that imperil supplies haven’t been sufficient to offset concerns about weakening fuel consumption among the world’s biggest economies.

Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. both warned of a recession if President Donald Trump follows through on threats to impose 25% tariffs against Mexico.

“What’s been very difficult is that supply has been falling very quickly, but then again, so has demand,” Francisco Blanch, global head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $53.42 a barrel at 11:32 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures have fallen 19% since the close on April 23; a settlement at or below $53.04 would achieve the 20% decline that defines a bear market.

Brent for August settlement slipped 46 cents to $61.53 on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark crude was trading at a premium of $8.04 to WTI for the same month.

Investors have gotten “very rattled” by the trade disputes, Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said on Bloomberg TV. The bank recently downgraded the energy equities sector.

“We just can’t step in front of these demand concerns,”’ Calvasina said. “I don’t think energy investors give the energy sector enough credit when oil goes up but they certainly beat it to death when oil goes down.”

“I would like to reiterate my confidence, based on my discussions with several key producers, and on our track record, that we will do what is needed to sustain market stability beyond June,” Al-Falih said in an interview with state-run Saudi Press Agency. “We have previously stated our commitment to do whatever it takes to stabilize markets and we have delivered on those promises. And I am making that commitment again.”

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