Crude oil prices enjoyed a strong first half of 2014, as energy had placed itself among the better performing sectors for the year. But the fossil fuel’s bullish run came to a head in June when a number of factors combined to sink its price. Along with barrel prices dipping, major energy companies are taking a hit and even Wall Street as a whole has begun to feel the pinch of the energy sector [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
First thing’s first. Here is a chart of what crude oil prices have done in 2014:
Since peaking in June, crude prices have dropped approximately 19% and have yet to show signs of a definitive bottom.
Why Crude Oil Is Falling
The U.S. Dollar has been on a tear as of late, jumping more than 6% in the last three months. A rising dollar puts pressure on commodity prices and has been a major factor in crude’s demise. The dollar appears to be leveling off in recent trading sessions, but it is not the only thing that is pushing crude into the dirt.
Because the commodity is so widely traded, it is often used as a speculative tool by hedgers and traders. Right now, the global economy is looking worse for the wear, as there are worries that a number of European nations (Germany especially) will slip back into a recession. The IMF cut its global growth forecast from 3.4% to 3.3% last week, which shattered the confidence of many. With that, traders and hedgers have been selling off the fossil fuel, as a recession would spell bad news for the commodity [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Crude Oil].
With a number of economies around the world struggling, the demand for crude oil has tapered; with global supply as high as it has ever been, lowered demand has been yet another reason why crude prices are taking a dip. Here’s what the trailing three months look like for some of the biggest oil stocks on Wall Street:
The Bottom Line
Crude prices are hovering near multi-year lows as traders and investors are trying to determine where exactly the fossil fuel will bottom. While it is impossible to predict where the commodity will end up over the next few months, investors can be sure that crude will follow the overall health of the global economy and take cues from any significant data releases in the near future.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.