The following is an excerpt from Scott Barlow's collection of 10 charts that will define the markets in 2017. To view the entire series, click here.
A global oversupply of oil and weak crude prices has been a market theme since mid-2014 and investors in the domestic oil patch have been hit hard. According to the U.S.-based Energy Information Administration (EIA), this is all about to change as worldwide demand is set to outstrip supply in 2017.
This chart tracks supply and demand of all liquid fuels for the past five years. The bars indicate the quarterly deficit or surplus in supply relative to demand – positive results indicate there was more oil on sale for the period than demand required.
A significant oversupply of oil was apparent beginning in the third quarter of 2014, driving crude prices from $107 (U.S.) per barrel in late July, 2014, to a low of $26 in early 2016. U.S. inventories of unsold oil climbed 44 per cent for the period to 487 million barrels (excluding the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve).
The EIA forecasts a balanced oil market later in 2017. This implies that the current glut in supply will stop growing, removing the primary hurdle in front of higher commodity prices.
Global crude demand is expected to increase annually by 1.2 million barrels per day for the foreseeable future. The recent weak commodity prices have caused oil producers to slash their investment in discovering and developing new reserves. These two factors combined suggests that, a few years from now, supply might not be able to keep up with demand, opening the door for another era of sharply higher oil prices and strong returns for investors in the energy sector.