Pending imbalance in supply/demand equation for crude oil?
Last night (Tuesday), the Nymex WTI crude oil Q4 2010 strip closed at a $3.81 or 4.8% discount to the Q1 2011 strip. A month ago, this contango was only $2.17 or 2.9%! So much for market concerns regarding pending tightening in the supply/demand balance in the second half of 2010? After all, if imbalances in supply were manifest, the market would pay you (backwardation) to take barrels out of storage, not the reverse.
However, as highlighted in yesterday’s issue of The Schork Report, at any given time — like now — geography, quality and/or the uncertainty of capacity issues at the Nymex delivery hub in Cushing, Okla., can distort the normal relationship along the Nymex crude oil curve.
For example, last night, the November Brent contract closed at a $0.33 discount to the December. The corresponding spread in New York finished at a $1.68 discount.
In other words, the gradient in the slope of the contango is greater in New York. Therefore, given that the London contract is a better indicator of the market’s perception of global supply-demand balances; does the smaller gradient in the Brent contango indicate concern for the future availability of crude oil on a global scale?