Crude oil prices fell as the Colonial Pipeline – the largest gasoline delivery conduit in the US – restarted operations after a hacking incident. Its operators reportedly paid close to US$5 million in ransom. The Biden administration also waived Jones Act restrictions on fuel deliveries by foreign tankers.
The White House move to ease supply shortages and Colonial’s return seemed to ease fears about a lasting shortage of fuel supply, driving prices lower. Broader weakness across the raw materials space added to selling pressure. Averages tracking industrial metals and agricultural commodities prices fell.
Looking ahead, the spotlight turns to April’s US retail sales data as well as the May edition of the University of Michigan gauge of US consumer confidence. Receipts are expected to rise by 1 percent, marking a deceleration from the 9.8 percent rise seen in March. The sentiment is penciled in at a 14-month high.
US economic news flow has improved relative to baseline forecasts recently, which may foreshadow upside surprises on the day’s statistical roundup. That may stoke reflation bets and inspire speculation about a sooner-than-expected reduction of Fed stimulus, boosting the US Dollar and pushing crude oil prices lower.
Crude oil prices are inching closer to confirming the formation of a bearish Double Top pattern in the following a test of trend-defining resistance in the $66-68/bbl area (as expected). Prices broke the near-term sequence of higher highs and lows, deflating upward momentum.
From here, breaching immediate support at 63.53 would open the door for a move to test the minor barrier at 60.61, followed by the would-be Double Top’s neckline at 57.25. A daily close below this critical threshold would complete the bearish formation, implying a measure below the $47 figure thereafter.
Alternatively, securing a hold above the $68/bbl mark would probably neutralize selling pressure and set the stage for extension upward. The 38.2% Fibonacci expansion at 70.37 approximates initial resistance, followed by the 50% level at 74.42.