Crude oil prices are in free fall at the beginning of the week, with the barrel of West Texas Intermediate currently trading at $86.63, not far from this month’s low at $86.40.
Several factors are weighing on oil prices, the main one being the worsening demand outlook. The data from China showed that the country’s crude throughput fell to its lowest level since March 2020 at 53.21 million tonnes of crude oil in July. That number was also 8.8% lower than the same time last year. Additionally, disappointing Retail Sales and Industrial Production data from China revived concerns over a global recession.
On the supply side, Saudi Aramco’s CEO said on Sunday that they would be able to raise the output to the max capacity of 12 million bpd if requested by the government. Looking ahead, Iran’s response to the EU’s offer to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which is expected to be announced later in the day, could impact crude oil prices. In case Iran and the US reach an agreement, that could lead to the removal of sanctions on Iran’s oil and gas exports.
The aforementioned August low is the lowest WTI traded since February, which means that a break below it could result in a steeper decline. The initial bearish target and immediate support level is the $86.10 area, where the black gold has several intraday highs and lows from January this year. A bearish breakout could result in a test of the $85.00 figure. The sour tone of equities will likely keep crude oil prices on the downside through the rest of the day.
Should Wall Street recover, WTI may also find some demand. Intraday resistance stands at $88.50 and $90.00. Nevertheless, technical readings support a near-term downward extension, adding to the negative fundamental picture.